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Tarrant County Appraisal District Assessment Insights

By Stephen Wicks

bulls walking through fort worth texas in tarrant county appraisal district

On May 1, the Tarrant County Appraisal District mailed most of their real property assessment notices for the 2020 property tax cycle, with almost 99% of commercial real property receiving notices. These assessments are interesting to examine as Tarrant County is the 15th most populous county in the United States and the 3rd largest in Texas (behind Harris and Dallas counties). As one of the counties in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA (the country’s 4th largest MSA), Tarrant County could also provide some early insight into what property values in Dallas County will look like when they are released later this month.

 

For the notices mailed on May 1, the appeal deadline is June 1. Tarrant County Appraisal District has posted details on how the appeals process will work this year given the COVID-based closure/distancing orders and recommendations.

 

ANALYZING 2020 PROPERTY VALUES VS. 2019

For real property in Tarrant County from 2019 to 2020:*

  • Single family residential real property market values saw a modest 3.5% increase (within the category, however, condos saw a nearly 12% increase).
  • Commercial real property market values increased 10.5% (this is slightly below the 12.7% increase seen in Harris County).
    • Note that facilities offering some form of medical care – from medical offices to senior care properties – saw average increases greater than the average commercial property.
  • Industrial real property market values grew 7.8% (in line with the 7.5% increase in Harris County).

 

Digging into the details for commercial property illustrates how different categories of business fared. As you review this analysis and prepare equity comps for your own properties, there are two things you need to keep in mind:

  • Be detailed in your like-property comparisons. It is important to compare your property to other similar properties at the appropriate level of detail. In Tarrant County Appraisal District, almost every broad category of commercial property had some property types within the category that experienced more significant changes than others. So if you own a full-service restaurant, you’ll want to compare your property to other full-service restaurants, not just the broader restaurant category.
  • Benchmark your property values on an assessor-by-assessor basis. Types of property that saw smaller increases in Harris County saw large increases in Tarrant, and vice versa.

RETAIL

Similar to Harris County (in-state) and Wake County, NC (out-of-state), department store real property values were nearly unchanged. On the other end of the spectrum, malls increased 16% and general/specialty retail stores increased 27%. The table shows how different retail fared year-over-year in Tarrant County.

 

Type

Change
2019 to 2020

Department Store

0.12%

Discount Store

9.15%

General/Specialty

27.42%

Grocery/Supermarket

0.59%

Mall

16.22%

Pharmacy

0.69%

Warehouse Discount Store

2.34%

Warehouse Food Store

5.31%

 

OFFICE BUILDINGS

Office building assessments in Tarrant County increased an average of 8.5% over the past year. Looking at the increase by building size, the increase was felt overwhelmingly by low rise office buildings.

 

Type

Change
2019 to 2020

Office Building - Low Rise

13.70%

Office Building - Mid-High Rise

4.12%

 

RESTAURANTS

Fast food restaurants saw a smaller increase than the general commercial category in Tarrant County, while full-service restaurants saw a substantially larger increase, on average.

 

Type

Change
2019 to 2020

Fast Food

8.94%

Full Service

22.51%

 

HOTELS AND MOTELS

As a general category, hotels and motels were slightly down from 2019 to 2020. Breaking down the increase by type/size of hotel yields the following:

 

Type

Change
2019 to 2020

Extended Stay

1.86%

Full Service

-7.00%

Limited Service

1.26%

Luxury

-1.76%

Motel

2.29%

 

MEDICAL FACILITIES

Medical offices and other facilities generally outpaced the average value increase for non-medical office buildings. As shown below, outpatient surgery centers were one of the only categories of medical facilities that didn’t see double-digit average increases in Tarrant County from 2019 to 2020.

 

Type

Change
2019 to 2020

Dental Office

16.73%

Medical Office

17.92%

Outpatient Surgery Center

4.01%

Rehab/Psychiatric Facility

15.67%

 

SENIOR CARE

The average property value increase for senior care facilities was slightly less than the average increase for other multi-family properties in Tarrant County.

 

Type

Change
2019 to 2020

Assisted Living

13.91%

Nursing Home/Convalescent

26.68%

Senior Living

12.99%

 

AUTOMOBILE SERVICES

Auto dealerships experienced a smaller average increase than the broader commercial category. With the exception of mini-lube facilities, repair facilities saw a greater than average increase.

 

Type

Change
2019 to 2020

Auto Dealership (Full Service)

6.95%

Auto Dealership (Limited Service)

8.77%

Mini Lube

7.27%

Repair Garage

11.02%

Service Center

14.76%

 

WAREHOUSES

Most categories of warehouses in Tarrant County saw their property values increase on average between 5% and 9% from 2019 to 2020. One notable exception is climate controlled warehousing, which saw average increases of over 20%.

 

Type

Change
2019 to 2020

Cold Storage Warehouse

20.45%

Distribution Warehouse

5.54%

Flex/Multi-Use Warehouse

8.96%

Storage Warehouse

8.55%

 

OTHER

Finally, a few other interesting property categories are outlined below:

 

Type

Change
2019 to 2020

Bank (Full Service)

12.33%

Convenience Store (w/ Fuel)

9.66%

Mini Mart (w/ Fuel)

8.63%

Mini-Storage (Climate Controlled)

10.43%

Mini-Storage

2.19%

 

CONCLUSION

Year-over-year analysis is a good, quick sanity check when you first look at a new year’s values. But there’s much more to look at to determine if your property is over-assessed and, if so, by how much. If you are interested, we offer full assessment rolls by county that are standardized across jurisdictions and available in an easy to analyze spreadsheet. You can request those datasets here.

 

When Dallas County values are released on May 15, we’ll prepare similar comparisons. Given the close proximity of Dallas and Fort Worth, it will be interesting to compare the year-over-year changes we found in Tarrant County to what we end up finding with Dallas when those values are released. And, we’ll continue to offer analysis for other large counties across the United States. To get these updates straight to your inbox as we post them, sign up for our Property Tax Assessment Insights.

 

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* For the purposes of the following analysis, we used 2019 property data as of mid-March 2020, which takes into account all protests settled up to that point, and 2020 data as of the May 1 notice mailings. We only included properties in our comparison that have been sent an assessment notice in 2020, existed in 2019, and maintained the same property use between 2019 and 2020. This methodology provides a better average increase for benchmarking purposes as it removes activity like new construction, demolitions, and property use changes that can skew the average for a category.

Tags: Assessment Insights, Tax Calendar Insights

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