By STEVE SOUTHWELL
Lewisville homeowners have begun to receive their annual property tax appraisals in the mail. For some, the increase in value over last year may be slight; for others, it could be fairly substantial. The final average Lewisville single-family homestead had a taxable value last year of $173,988. Preliminary values this year put that at $198,763— a $24,775 or 14.2 percent increase over last year’s final values. The increase is driven primarily by homesite (land) values, which jumped 19 percent.
The overall preliminary taxable value for Lewisville, including residential real property, business real property, and business personal property comes in at $9.8 billion. That figure is a $1.7 billion increase over last year’s certified rolls, and is driven primarily by a $1.4 billion overall increase in commercial property values.
Although commercial values do appear to have taken a big leap, it’s worth noting that due to the way that state law is written, those commercial values drop considerably due to appeals and protests. Last year, the preliminary commercial values showed an initial $1.2 billion increase, but by the time appeals and protests were completed, and the rolls were certified, that increase had dropped to just $447 million.
By contrast, preliminary home values are much closer to the final certified values, since many homeowners do not protest, and homeowners do not have the same favors written into state law. Last year, preliminary home values for Lewisville showed a $311 million increase, while certified values came in very close to that with a $280 million increase.
What it means for homeowners
Home value increases are driven by a hot real estate market again this year. Real estate brokers often report that homes are selling within hours of listing, and many times selling for over the asking price.
The appraisal notice that homeowners receive shows a projected tax amount that uses the previous year’s tax rates, but the taxing entities (city, school district, and county) typically do not set their rates until late August. It is always possible for a city or the county to reduce its tax rate to a degree to offset any actual increase
School districts may slightly decrease the debt service portion of their tax rates, but due to the state education funding scheme, and a lack of local discretion, it would be highly unlikely to see a school district drop its operational tax rate. Since the State of Texas reduces school funding proportional to any increase in tax revenue from increased valuations, districts do not benefit much from property value increases. Only the debt service portion of the tax rate (used to pay off the bonds that built new facilities) benefits from the increase.
In most cases, an increase in value is going to mean an increase in taxes paid, but it may not be as much as shown on the appraisal notice.
Protesting your value
Although home values are going up, and the appraisals reflect that in aggregate, it is possible that the appraiser has overestimated the value of your home.
Homeowners who believe their property value is overstated should contact the Denton Central Appraisal District at 940-205-4077 to schedule an informal review with an appraiser at the office in Denton. After the informal review, if the homeowner is not satisfied, then a protest can be filed in one of two ways: Either mail in the paper protest form included with your appraisal value notice, or use the online appeals website at appeals.dentoncad.com.
The district may offer to lower the value if the homeowner can present evidence that the home is worth less than the value shown. Some of the most convincing evidence that a homeowner could provide would be a list of comparable properties in the neighborhood that have sold for lower prices. Many local real estate agents are willing to provide that information without charge.
For information about homestead exemptions, visit dentoncad.com.
Interesting facts from the tax rolls:
– There are 19,185 single family homes in Lewisville this year, an increase of 323 new homes.
– Perhaps related, there were 17 fewer parcels and 292 acres less of qualified agricultural land this year.
– Preliminary values (not freeze-adjusted) show Lewisville with a total valuation of $317 million more than Flower Mound. However, Flower Mound’s home values constitute a much greater portion of their tax base, so they are less susceptible to the total valuation coming down much on appeal. In 2015, their final values exceeded Lewisville’s final values by $171 million.
– Lewisville businesses have $1.8 billion in personal property (fixtures, equipment, and inventory)