Crunching Houston Home Sales Numbers; The Gulf Oil Spill Nobody Talks About

Lightning Storm, Houston

Photo: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


15 Comment

  • Considering the conflict of interest HAR has with respect to over-reporting home sales I would almost be willing to consider this fraud.

  • They are still reporting the incorrect sales numbers:

  • HAR has been lying about numbers for years, it is in their self serving interest to paint a false rosy picture, more commissions in their pocket. But now that HCAD is relying on those numbers and therefore overcharging taxpayers it may elevate to the legal qualification of fraud (A buyer overpaying for a home based on false data from HAR should qualify as fraud on it’s own as well). I wish someone would take them to court, I don’t think HAR or HCAD is going to find a single sympathetic ear on a local jury.

  • Well, it has only been 2 weeks, perhaps I am being unfair. For some reason I was thinking this was talking about the bad numbers from last month (or month before?).

  • Someone please clarify for me: it seems the dispute on HAR’s numbers involves the total number of sales, not the sales prices. How would HCAD be misusing this data unless home sale prices are somehow involved, rather than just total sales volume? Home prices come right off the MLS, from closed sales.

    Please don’t take this post as defending HCAD, which has plenty of its own sloppiness to deal with, but the accusations that it is somehow involved in a giant conspiracy to raise taxes has never seemed justified to me. It’s one thing if you think HCAD incorrectly valued your property. It’s another if you think property taxes are too high generally – then you should point your finger to the taxing jurisdictions, not HCAD.

  • The text of the first article says number of $1M and greater home sales doubled from 2010 NOT 2013. In fact, these sales were only up 16% from last year.

  • @ commonsense: Although I agree that HAR is no paragon of virtue, your legal analysis is crappy and you are neither a lawyer or an expert in these matters. Comments like yours have the potential to get you or Swamplot into hot water. You should be more careful.

  • Has anybody else noticed how crappy so much of the local, state, national, and global economic news is outside of the real estate industry?

  • Ugh. I’ve long stopped listening to HAR. Their only mission is to protect the status quo. As for HCAD, the appraisal for my 60-year old inner loop condo jumped by $40,000, or more than 40%. The HCAD letter says they are required to charge what my condo could have sold for as of January 1, 2015…which is, of course, right when the market started to slow down, especially for older condos. I can’t really complain as my complex has been undervalued for years, but I still feel like I got screwed without lubrication.

  • So, if an oil spill happens in the Gulf, and nobody knows about it, does it still kill wildlife?
    (Of course it does, but it would be fun to see how Big Oil lawyers twist the issue into a pretzel to claim it doesn’t.)

  • @TheNiche, my legal expertise comes from real world cases, not book law. I’ve been involved in lawsuits on both sides many times over the years, just part of doing business. There’s what the book says and then there’s how one uses lawsuits as a weapon and a tool.

  • @Roadchick How are you not protected by the homestead cap? Your appraisal should not go up by more than 10% a year at most unless there was a sale. At least that’s how I understand HCAD.

  • @ Local Planner: Your post wasn’t there when I last posted a comment. First of all, HCAD is within its right to post news articles on its website. They’re probably hoping that it’ll discourage the public from protesting and encourage the ARBs to take “official notice” of good news and not be so lenient. (In their view, protesting is a waste of resources and primarily serves to create inequities in the tax roll.) HCAD can and does sometimes insert articles into its supplemental hearing evidence files, making it fair game as a point of contention…however, their staff typically lack the competence to interpret and present that information.

    Hypothetically and if it is properly utilized, the information could be important to an appraisal district because there was a state law that was passed in the wake of the last recession that forced appraisal districts to take foreclosures and other “invalid” sales into account when such sales represent a substantial share of market activity. (That’s not the precisely correct wording.) If they can demonstrate housing market liquidity then they can get around that line of protest.

  • @ commonsense: Okay fine, you can think what you’re going to think about that. I myself, I have better things to do with my time rather than to provoke and then defend myself against legal actions. You can go and say what you want (if the Swamplot moderator will let you).

  • i got very lucky last year and got a good reduction during my tax protest with HCAD. This year, they got every dime back and then some. But as flawed as there process is, the market value HCAD has for my house is about $1,500 more than the appraisal I got to refi this past year. Basically, it was spot on what an independent appraiser did. And about the last half dozen comparable sales in my neighborhood last year were all about $40-60k higher than the HCAD market value. There is not a single legit comp in my area that is lower than the market value HCAD gave me. I will just have to bring in repair estimates for all the things falling apart on my house and see if that gets me somewhere.