SAN ANTONIO – In just the past four years, Elsie Guzman has seen the value of her modest Denver Heights home more than double.
“My husband is 100% disabled, so our taxes don’t go up as much, but other people, I feel sorry for,” she said.
They’re about to see it happen again despite a year-long pandemic.
Most Bexar County residential property owners will get a notice this week of their new valuations, and they are up an average of 6.9% despite lockdowns, shutdowns and vanishing paychecks. How can that happen?
“Pandemic or no pandemic, there’s a market that’s quite active,” said Chief Appraiser Mike Amezquita, with the Bexar County Appraisal District. “It’s our job to follow the market and try to reflect what values are doing in each and every neighborhood.”
Even Amezquita anticipated values would cool off this year. Instead, the home buying market continued to sizzle.
“The fact of the matter is the sales volume continues to perform year after year, which is just incredible,” Amezquita said. “I don’t think anybody would have predicted this, but it’s happened.”
According to the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, the average home price was up 8%. Appraisals are trailing that at just under 7%.
“A lot of areas seeing the highest increases are some of the poorest or more affordable communities of San Antonio,” Amezquita said.
He’s referring to some of the older neighborhoods, like Guzman’s -- where they are seeing rehabs galore -- and like Lavaca, where Michael White just moved into a renovated bungalow built back in 1900.
“We like living in a historic district,” White said.
He doesn’t mind knowing that his investment and home are about to be worth more.
“We anticipated it would probably go up,” White said. “We took that into account when we bought this place.”
Property owners who disagree with their appraisals can file a protest online. Like last year, the appeals process will follow pandemic protocols and be handled online or by phone.
The district handled a record number of appeals last year. Amezquita said 94% were settled. He expects even more this year.
The deadline for most to file an appeal in Bexar County is May 17.