Key Highlights

  • Austin Board of Realtors provided muscle in legal dispute with Travis Central Appraisal District TCAD) concerning reappraisal contract for 2021
  • New contract with Carahsoft Technology Corporation and TransUnion approved/signed by TCAD for data to be used for Austin home reappraisals

Residential properties are more than homes…based upon their appraisal values, homes are also property tax revenue for cities and counties throughout the US. Without accurate market data and sales prices, appraisers simply cannot provide proper and accurate property values upon which to base property taxes.

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Texas, being one of 12 non-disclosure states in the US, simply doesn’t make real estate sales prices and market data available to the public. The result? Third party vendors have to provide that information and that information is considered to be proprietary. Agents, appraisers, and property tax specialists in Travis County’s Austin, one of the hottest residential markets in the country, has had to rely on third-party vendors for years to get access to this proprietary information.

In 2018, the Travis County Appraisal District (TCAD) contracted with the real estate data firm CoreLogic to provide that data and then sold it to the Austin Board of Realtors. The Austin Board of Realtors, because it had paid CoreLogic directly for the data, claimed the data it had purchased was proprietary and that the TCAD could not use it. The Austin Board of Realtors then filed a filed a lawsuit against the TCAD to prevent its access to the market data.

One consequence of that lawsuit was that the TCAD did not have adequate sales market data to do accurate and legal residential appraisals. (Austin’s home sales prices increased +6% in 2019 and the eight schools in the Travis County School District serving Austin’s families needed accurate reappraisals to get their fair share of property tax revenue generated from those reappraisals.)

The TCAD identified and contracted with a new market data source, Carahsoft Technology Corporation and TransUnion, on which the city/county can now rely for accurate appraisals. Just as the Austin Board of Realtors data, the Carahsoft and TransUnion data is proprietary. Travis County will purchase the data via the state of Texas.

The result?   “…We’ll be able to recalibrate our appraisal models for 2021,” said TCAD Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler.

Bruce Elfant, Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar as well as a member of the TCAD board, seconded Crigler’s endorsement by saying that the Carahsoft product “…is a better product – and it’s not a product that will get yanked from us.”

Homeowners in Travis County can expect to receive 2021 appraisal notices “around April of next year.”


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Also read: NYC Prices Plunge While Rents Soar, What Might Happen in New York Real Estate in A Year of Two?, Where Are People Moving From & To?