Transportation causes Houston-area home values to spike

Channel 2 Investigates takes a look at who pays most property taxes

By Jace Larson - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Owning a home within close proximity of major area highways and retail centers means you will likely pay higher property taxes than other homeowners in the metro area, according to a Channel 2 Investigates review of assessed property values.

"Location, location, location," Jack Barnett, a spokesman for the Harris County Appraisal District, said of what is currently driving up home values.

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Top zip codes in Harris County

One of the top areas is zip code 77008, Channel 2's analysis showed. That area runs from Studewood Street west to 610 and just north of I-10 to 610. It includes the Lazybrook and Timbergrove neighborhoods.

"It has easy availability to 610, 290, downtown, Memorial Park and the Galleria make it popular. We're five minutes from 610," Barnett told investigative reporter Jace Larson.

Median-assessed home values have gone up 23 percent since 2010 in zip code 77008.

Zip code 77389, which is west of I-45 to Kuykendahl Road and Spring Stuebner Road north to George Mitchell Nature Preserve, also went up 23 percent.

The areas northeast of 249 from Cypress Creek Parkway to near Cypresswood Drive and Old Louetta Road to Stuebner Airline Road make up zip code 77069, which saw median assessed property values go up 25 percent.

Zip code 77345's median assessed home values went up 27 percent since 2010. The area includes east Kingwood near Highway 59 and north of Atascocita Road.

The biggest increase happened in 77018, which is north of 610 to about Pinemont Drive and T C Jester Boulevard east to Yale Street. This area's median assessed value increased 28 percent.

Top zip codes in Fort Bend County

The Fort Bend Appraisal District crunched its own numbers and told Channel 2 the hot zip codes with the greatest property value increase since 2009: 77407 near the Grand Parkway and the Westpark Tollway, 77441 near Fulshear, 77494 near Katy Mills Mall and 77469 in the Richmond area.

Top zip codes in Montgomery County

In Montgomery County, it's the areas you'd expect: Areas around the Woodlands. Zip Codes 77380, 77381, 77382, 77354 and 77355 are hot, according to Mark Castleschouldt, Montgomery County Appraisal District's Chief Appraiser.

"Last year was a huge year in real estate," Nancy Furst, HAR board chairwoman, said. "We have more people wanting to buy than we have selling their homes."

The hot real estate market has helped boost home values and thus property taxes.

Furst said one way to tell where the market will head in the future is by tracking the number of building permits issued.

"The north, the northwest and the west have the largest amount of building permits on record, followed by the southwest," she said.

She spoke with other real estate experts and says the consensus is that the next hot area will be far east.

"Because of the expansion of the Houston Ship Channel and all of the traffic coming through the Panama Canal, I think the east side of Harris and Chambers County is going to explode," Furst said. "Several developers are developing gated communities there."

Here are the detailed numbers for Fort Bend County with the zip code followed by the percent increase or decrease since 2009:

77469 -- 81%
77494 -- 77%
77441 -- 76%
77407 -- 60%
77479 -- 32%
77583 -- 30%
77082 -- 25%
77406 -- 24%
77450 -- 20%
77459 -- 20%
77430 -- 17%
77489 -- 15%
77417 -- 15%
77493 -- 14%
77545 -- 12%
77481 -- 12%
77461 -- 12%
77099 -- 10%
77471 -- 9%
77478 -- 8%
77498 -- 6%
77477 -- 4%
77476 -- 4%
77420 -- 4%
77435 -- 3%
77085 -- 2%
77444 -- 2%
77083 -- 1%
77485 -- -1%
77423 -- -4%
77053 -- -6%
77031 -- -13%

Have a story idea for investigative reporter Jace Larson or a tip for him, email or text jlarson@kprc.com or 832-493-3951.

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