El Paso News

Special Report: Biggest Property Value Jumps

(KTSM) - As the Sun City grows and grows, you can still find some quiet in the farmlands and open desert dotting the outskirts of El Paso. And that's also where you can find some of this year's biggest spikes in property appraisals.

According to data from the El Paso Central Appraisal District (CAD), one property along Socorro Rd. in San Elizario was last year valued at $14,097. This year, it was appraised at $194,487.

Another property on Burt Rd. in Socorro saw its value jump from $12,996 to $166,145. And another San Elizario home along Briana Rd. saw its appraisal go from $18,492 to $122,615.

The numbers were compiled by local journalist Bob Moore, the former executive editor of the El Paso Times.

"Like most El Pasoans, I received a notice showing that my property appraisal went up," he told KTSM.

Moore filed an open records request and received the values for every single property in El Paso County.

"Overall, the median value for a home in El Paso went up 7.4 percent from 2017 to 2018," Moore said.

Ok, but an average 7.4 percent increase compared to the more than 1,000 percent increase for some of the homes mentioned above, how did that happen?

"An addition of a house, an expansion of a house, anything that's added to an existing house," said Dinah Kilgore, Chief Appraiser at the CAD.

KTSM took a closer look at the appraisal records and found three of those properties mentioned had made recent changes, some of them extensive. But the home on Burt Rd. hadn't reported any additions in about six years and appeared to be vacant.

Kilgore said property owners who feel their values are way off should file a protest.

"They need to let us know right away," she said. 

The District took a look at all the properties in the county this year as it's required to do every three years. Kilgore said appraisers base a lot of their valuations on the market, how much your neighbor's house or business sold for. But because Texas is a "non-disclosure" state, the CAD doesn't get direct access to real estate prices, complicating things for the appraisers.

"Texans don't like to tell anyone their business," Kilgore told KTSM. "Texans are funny."

Moore filed a protest of his home's appraisal and said he was surprised to see the comparable sales data, known as "comps," the appraisers used for his valuation.

"One was right across the street from me, makes sense," Moore said. "But the other two were more than five miles from me from where I live."

KTSM NewsChannel 9 will look at why the CAD can sometimes use properties miles apart to determine valuations in part two of this special series Tuesday on NewsChannel 9 at 10.

Those looking to protest their appraisal can do so by clicking here. The deadline is May 15 or 30 days after an owner received their valuation notice, whichever is later. 


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