No Big Rate Increases, But Property Taxes Still Go Up

Houston-area homeowners will see an average 7-and-a-half percent increase in their tax bills this year, thanks to appraised values that continue to climb.

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Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt says over the past eight years, the average Houston-area homeowner has seen their tax bill go up by 118-percent. "It means the tax bill has gone from $1500 to well-over $3300 and the problem is that year after year, the average tax bill goes up because of home values going up and even tax rates being increased. And the bad news is that this is same song, different verse," he says.

Both the city and county are keeping their tax rates level this year, with only the Houston School District approving a 2-cent property tax hike last week. Bettencourt says even with somewhat stable tax rates, residents are still paying more. "You have to have entities lower their tax rates as appraised values go up," he says. "That's the only protection for homes that can be had at this point in time,"

Bettencourt says appraisal districts value property at market value, and with a hot housing market, property taxes will continue to rise. He says until the legislature addresses the problem, some Houston homeowners won't be able to afford their homes.

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...