El Paso’s commercial property owners, who’ve been bracing for another round of double-digit valuation increases from the Central Appraisal District, will find reason to relax a little.
Preliminary values released by the CAD last week do show commercial property values rising more than other categories in a slow-moving market, but nothing like recent years.
This year’s preliminary market value for the 8,519 commercial properties in the city comes in at $6.98 billion. That’s an increase of $417 million – or 6.3 percent – over the certified total for 2013.
The increase – a far cry from last year’s 18-percent increase in the preliminary value of commercial property – could be cut in half by the time protests, appeals and lawsuits are over.
The 18-percent increase didn’t tell the whole story, however, because many individual properties went up more, much more.
Bruce Meyer, who owns office property at 900 E. Yandell, saw his initial valuation jump 102 percent – from $383,261 to $771,544 – last year.
His tax agent negotiated that increase down to $601,687, which is still a 57-percent increase.
“My question is where do they come up with these numbers?” Meyer wondered.
Meyer, who sued the CAD last October over the 57-percent increase, recently received his new valuation notice and was relieved to see the value of that property was unchanged.
“I think they left it where we had it last year because we’re suing them,” he said. “But we had to pay $16,000 in taxes on the 57-percent increase last year, and if the case isn’t settled by December, we’ll have to pay it again.
“A 57-percent increase in valuation causes economic stress to me and my tenant, that’s the issue. That kind of thing is detrimental to El Paso’s economy and its reputation,” Meyer said.
If the value of his property is lowered as the result of a settlement or trial, he will be reimbursed for the taxes he overpaid.
Add it all up
This year’s preliminary valuation of all property in the city is 3.1-percent higher than last year’s final total.
That would be a respectable increase if it holds up, but it won’t, said David Stone, the CAD’s assistant chief appraiser.
The preliminary taxable value of all properties in El Paso is $33.2 billion. That’s a $1-billion increase over last year’s certified total, after protests, appeals and lawsuits.
“Historically, our loss during the appeals process and lawsuits is 3.57 percent of the preliminary value, so we could be looking at a half-percent loss in valuations this year,” Stone said.
Because home values had moved so little as of Jan. 1 of this year, the appraisal district didn’t conduct a countywide reappraisal of all properties this year for the second year a row.
Appraisal districts must conduct reappraisals on all properties at least every three years, which means there will be a reappraisal next year.
The preliminary market value of single-family homes in El Paso came in at $20.8 billion this year, representing an increase of $423.7 million, or 2.1 percent, over last year’s certified value.
Most of that increase, $256 million, was due to new construction. Preliminary values on existing homes rose by slightly less than 1 percent.
The preliminary market value of the average home in El Paso is $130,334 before exemptions. That compares with $124,310 across all of El Paso County, $139,687 in the El Paso school district and $149,616 in the fast growing Canutillo school district.
Email El Paso Inc. reporter David Crowder at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (915) 534-4422, ext. 122 and (915) 630-6622.