Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) has over valued about 7% of apartment complexes in Harris County by 50% or more. HCAD uses a process called mass appraisal to estimate values for all real and personal property in Harris County. The weakness of mass appraisal is it depends on having accurate data regarding the property being valued and market trends. Given the volume of real property HCAD must appraise, mass appraisal is the only practical option. However, property owners need to be aware that mass appraisal is only within 10% of market value for about 50% of houses, and is less reliable for commercial property.

O’Connor & Associates has compiled information on almost 780 recent apartment sales. Apartments valued at 50% higher than the recent sales price totaled 53. (See table below.) These include sales in 2012 and 2013, so it is possible that some of the properties were renovated or improved after purchase. However, a random sample indicates that many of the properties currently have low occupancy, which is consistent with a low value.

The assessment ratio is the 2014 HCAD market value divided by the sales price. Hence, an assessment ratio of 298% means the property will be taxed on a value about 3 times the recent sales price, unless the owner protests.

“HCAD has a difficult task in valuing about 1.7 million tax parcels. However, property owners need to be aware that with mass appraisal come massive errors for some properties. Texas law requires that property owners file a property tax protest to obtain the appraisal district’s evidence, to determine if they are over-taxed”, according to Patrick O’Connor, President of O’Connor & Associates. O’Connor & Associates is Texas largest property tax consultant, representing over 100,000 clients.

The deadline to file a protest is Monday June 2. Property owners are responsible for timing filing a protest to determine if they are accurately and fairly assessed. While HCAD has a difficult task in valuing so many properties, tax payers need to remember than at least 200,000 properties in Harris County are over-taxed by 10% or more.

For more information, contact Patrick O’Connor at 713 822 8613 or poconnor@poconnor.com.

Property Address SaleDate  GBA 2014 Assessment Ratio
2406 TRUXILLO ST # 6 2/15/2012          3,792 298%
3511 NAPOLEON ST # 4 4/30/2012          3,016 294%
1000 NORTHWOOD DR # 88 3/15/2012        92,690 271%
7200 W T C JESTER BLVD # 4 1/9/2012          3,793 266%
3826 SEABROOK ST # 7 9/3/2013          4,656 254%
6300 W BELLFORT ST 2/14/2012       288,007 239%
400 GREENS RD # 286 9/12/2012       255,475 231%
501 GREENS RD # 179 9/12/2012       161,616 228%
904 HERBERT AVE # 4 1/18/2012          1,578 223%
17630 WAYFOREST DR # 268 9/12/2012       233,334 222%
3120 DECKER DR # 250 7/6/2012       261,760 219%
1100 LANGWICK DR # 282 9/12/2012       248,120 217%
3120 DECKER DR # 250 3/30/2012       261,760 213%
17103 CLAY RD # 161 9/13/2013       135,986 211%
7200 W T C JESTER BLVD # 4 11/27/2012          3,793 204%
3314 N MACGREGOR WAY # 24 9/6/2012        17,568 202%
2816 WICHITA ST # 4 5/25/2012          2,656 202%
206 JACKSON AVE # 5 5/15/2012          7,440 198%
5601 HAMILL RD # 128 12/14/2012       111,700 194%
2820 BLODGETT ST # 6 5/7/2013          1,584 194%
6120 BELLAIRE BLVD # 206 8/3/2012       200,697 189%
6060 BELARBOR ST # 50 4/3/2012        33,030 189%
10222 FORUM WEST DR # 384 5/29/2013       257,455 187%
4102 MANGUM RD # 68 8/20/2012        43,580 183%
7200 W T C JESTER BLVD # 4 10/25/2012          3,793 178%
2608 STANFORD ST # 4 3/4/2013          4,314 178%
9303 WOODFAIR DR # 248 12/28/2012       183,362 177%
12801 ROYDON DR # 244 8/1/2013       194,075 176%
990 CYPRESS STATION DR # 358 2/7/2012       310,723 175%
12603 NORTHBOROUGH DR # 300 3/27/2012       247,553 174%
1320 W PIERCE ST # 4 2/6/2012          2,614 168%
9447 CONCOURSE DR # 268 1/1/2013       173,576 167%
1010 CAROLYN CT # 4 1/4/2013          4,200 167%
11411 GREEN PLAZA DR # 280 8/30/2012       197,688 166%
3927 ARLINGTON SQUARE DR # 439 4/10/2012       342,025 164%
6103 W MOUNT HOUSTON RD # 4 6/18/2013          4,008 164%
6905 SHERMAN ST # 5 6/26/2012          3,284 163%
7250 W GREENS RD # 260 2/7/2012       217,594 160%
950 VILLA DE MATEL RD # 241 6/27/2013       199,866 160%
3600 S SHAVER ST # 75 2/20/2013        63,063 160%
5050 YALE ST # 250 2/20/2013       200,511 157%
6320 WINDSWEPT LN # 145 3/14/2012       101,232 157%
910 FAIR OAKS RD # 122 4/23/2013        90,632 157%
100 HOLLOW TREE LN # 252 1/3/2012       250,065 155%
3200 N MACGREGOR WAY # 52 12/7/2012        36,704 155%
15116 MESA DR # 114 7/8/2013       131,345 155%
13609 RAVENSWAY DR # 4 8/24/2012          4,386 155%
1114 N CESAR CHAVEZ BLVD # 4 7/16/2012          2,976 155%
670 MAXEY RD # 211 6/17/2013       173,674 153%
215 LINWOOD ST # 5 4/5/2012        10,202 152%
13455 WOODFOREST BLVD # 160 7/9/2012       130,544 152%
219 W ALABAMA ST 5/23/2012        14,770 151%
13210 OLD RICHMOND RD # 100 3/26/2013       105,060 150%