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Home appraisal protests in Dallas County expected to hit a record

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"We have never seen a real estate market like this," said the head of the county appraisal district.

Soaring real estate prices for homes in DFW has led to big jumps in property tax bills for homeowners and contributed to climbing rents for apartment dwellers.

Property owners are pushing back.

Dallas County property owners are on track to submit a record number of protests to their appraised home value, according to the head of the Dallas County Appraisal District.

“Our high-water mark was two years ago,” said Ken Nolan, Executive Director of the Dallas Central Appraisal District. That year, Nolan said there were about 178,000 protests.

“I … can almost with 100% surety tell you we will pass 178 in the next couple of days,” he told county commissioners at a Tuesday meeting.

The deadline for property owners to protest their appraisal was Monday, May 16th, or thirty days from the date they received the notice.

Nolan said this is the largest reappraisal his agency has done since its founding in the early 1980s. One reason is pandemic shutdowns cut into their work time in 2020, which subsequently affected 2021.

But the galloping value of homes is another reason.

“In the 41 years we’ve been around, we have never seen a real estate market like this,” he said, comparing Dallas to hot real estate markets like Miami. "Dallas is that place now.”

Nolan said preliminary estimates of residential property values in the county increased 24% over 2021, while commercial property values increased 25%.

Dallas County Tax Assessor/Collector John Ames expressed concern that some cities do not offer residents a homestead exemption on their portion of property taxes. (The county does offer the maximum homestead exemption for county property taxes.)

“All it’s doing is shifting the burden of taxation to the residents” of lower means, Ames said. “And that’s not what we need to be doing.”

Commissioners like J. J. Koch want the Texas Legislature to increase the limit on the homestead exemption, and for cities like Dallas to approve building permits more quickly.

“There’s a lot of things that government needs to do to keep people in their homes,” Koch said.

The state requires appraisals to be finalized by the end of July, Nolan said.

Got a tip? Email Bret Jaspers at bjaspers@kera.org. You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

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