Sticker shock: Bexar County home appraisals up nearly 28%

Homestead exemption critical to easing property tax burden

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County homeowners are in for a shocker when they receive their notice of their updated property value. Values for single-family houses are up an average of 27.8 percent, according to the Bexar Appraisal District.  That’s an unprecedented leap.

By law, appraisals must reflect the housing market, which is sizzling. High demand along with limited inventory has driven sales prices up.

The average sales price of a home jumped from $273,001 in 2020 to $312,555 last year, according to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. With sales prices up, appraisals followed.

“I think most people would call it sticker shock,” said Bexar Appraisal District Chief Appraiser Mike Amezquita.

The district will mail notices on April 8 and post them online on April 9.

Homeowners like Armand Fermin are accustomed to rising values. He bought his historic home south of downtown a decade ago.

“I got the house when I could afford it in the neighborhood,” he said.

Since then, his property value has steadily climbed.

“It’s probably tripled,” he said.

He may be in for a jolt when his new valuation arrives.

Perhaps surprising is that the surge in property values comes on the heels of a pandemic.

“We expected values to tank and anything but that happened,” Amezquita said. “With working from home, people were buying more space. Values went up across the board.”

Most homeowners will not have to pay property taxes on the full amount of the increase in value. The homestead exemption caps at 10% of the amount the assessed value can go up. For example, a person with a homestead exemption who sees his value increase from $250,000 to $300,00 would pay property taxes on $275,000.

Property owners can check to see if they are claiming all exemptions they qualify for, such as homestead, over-65, and disabled veterans, by visiting the district’s website

Still, if taxing entities such as the city, county and school districts do not cut tax rates, many property owners will be paying hundreds more in property taxes.

“For folks that own their property, they’re going to write a bigger check, and for folks mortgaging their property and collecting in escrow, they’re going to see their escrows go up,” Amezquita said.

Something else property owners can do is protest. That can be done online, as well. The deadline is May 16 for most.

Amezquita even encourages it.

“All the Appraisal District gets out of higher values is a long, hot summer,” he said.

20222021Total Increase from 2021
Bexar County’s Total Market Value$274.6 billion$224.4 billion22.4% increase
Single-family residential$160.3 billion$125.5 billion27.8% increase
Multi-family$23.9 billion$19.1 billion24.8% increase
Commercial$47.2 billion$39.9 billion18.4% increase

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About the Authors

Marilyn Moritz is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging up information that can make people’s lives a little bit better. As KSAT’S 12 On Your Side Consumer reporter, she focuses on exposing scams and dangerous products and helping people save money.

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