LAMPASAS — Appraisal values in Lampasas County are getting closer to the actual market values of residential and commercial properties as housing trends stay flat.
“It used to be that the tax appraisal value was about 80 percent of the market value,” said Ron Kuker, a real estate broker with The Kuker Company. “What you will find now, the market value and the tax value are getting pretty close together.”
Kuker said the reason for the change was that market values are not increasing as they did several years ago.
“People used to see a 5 to 10 percent increase (in appreciation),” he said. “We are seeing sometimes zero appreciation to maybe 5 percent.”
But overall the county hasn’t seen any significant decreases in market property values, Kuker said.
Melissa Gonzales, chief appraiser for the Lampasas Central Appraisal District, agreed with Kuker and said there are always some decreases in appraisals but it is nothing new.
The tax appraisal district doesn’t appraise every property throughout the county, it does however look at market values to make some assumptions about certain neighborhoods while actually appraising a portion of the county.
“Our reappraisal area for the 2012 year was the central portion of the county, and then the eastern and western portions were last year,” Gonzales said.
This year, the Lampasas County Central Appraisal District office, appraised all property in the county at about $1.126 billion, an increase of about $22 million from the year before.
“It isn’t a lot when you are looking at tax dollars, but values did increase this year,” Gonzales said.
A portion of the increase can be attributed to new construction and to increased appraisals, she said.
The decreases in appraised property values were mostly due to structures on individual properties needing repairs and over estimations on current market values by the distirct.
During the protest process this year, there were 333 protests filed with the district, which were down from last year, she said. Of those, only 137 properties received a lower appraisal than originals set by the district.
“A majority of those changes were those that need repairs done to the property,” Gonzales said.
Kuker said the market values also will show decreases when large repairs are needed to a property.
Kuker also has noticed a unique circumstance affecting market values in Lampasas, he said.
“This year we have a lot of houses that are inheritance houses,” he said. In most of those cases, the new homeowner will take a below market cost when selling because they were not the individuals who purchased the home and they are just trying to get the building out from under their responsibility.
Other effects on market values in Lampasas are similar things that people may see across the country, which include: the seller paying the closing cost and government regulations on loans.
But Lampasas is in a unique spot in Texas, he said. The home market there is generating interest from both Austin area developers and Killeen-Fort Hood area developers, Kuker said. However, there is not a high demand for large tracts of land for hundreds of homes like in Killeen-Fort Hood.
“Overall, I would say the housing prices are pretty steady (in Lampasas),” Kuker said. “I will generally sell between 60 to 80 properties a year in the area and about 75 percent of that is residential homes.”