In a good economy when you’re wallet is fat seeing your property value go up would be a great turn of events.

However, when you’re barely making ends meet and struggling to stay afloat, an increase in your property appraisal isn’t always welcomed news.

Some who live and operate businesses on the Near Northside of Houston are saying the latter.

They’re upset because they’ve seen an increase in their tax bills.

They say that’s the result of  Metro’s expanding light rail line.

Alfonso Salazar Jr. lives just off the newly constructed Northline rail on N. Main.

He says since construction began on the line he has seen the price of his residential taxes go up by $500 a year.

Salazar says, “the neighborhood has improved a whole lot…the only bad thing about it are the property taxes, they’re too high…we can’t afford that.”

That homeowner isn’t alone.

Mark Namgoong has owned the Chevron gas station on W. Main since 1976.

He’s also complaining about an increase in his property taxes as a result of the light rail line.

Namgoong says, “taxes going up, license fee, everything is going up but our business keep going down.”

Metro officials say increased property values will only be good for the community near the light rail line.

We spoke with Metro CEO George Greanias in an interview Monday.


We focused on the hardships businesses faced during the major transportation construction project.

Greanias said, “one of the challenges in any city is when you’re doing a major project that will benefit the community and build a stronger neighborhood, increase property values…it’s like remodeling your house and having to live in it.”

While Salazar and Namgoong may not be happy with the rise in property taxes for now, if they eventually decide to sell they may walk away with significantly more because of the rail line.

The Factor placed a call to the Harris County Appraisal District to see if officials there have seen a significant rise in property taxes near the light rail line.

So far we have not heard back.  Stay tuned!

Note: Metro has started a campaign called “Rally Around the Rails” and it’s for businesses along all three lines. Here is a link to tell you more about that effort.











1 comment

  1. William A. McWhorter October 4, 2012 12:04 pm 


    Very few residential land values along the north light rail corridor were increased or decreased since last year, so increases in value would have to be the result of appreciating improvement values. HCAD will no doubt point to what they perceive as an increase in construction costs, remodeling activity, major repair permits, or to omitted improvements that are getting picked up on the tax rolls.

    Commercial property is a different story. HCAD places a premium on commercial land within two blocks of the Red Line, however it actually places a temporary discount on land that is within a block of the light rail routes that are under construction. For the 2012 tax year, commercial property owners in this area got a break, but they should be budgeting for a bloodbath starting in 2014.

    The adjustments to commercial land are only hypothetical at this point. There is insufficient empirical evidence (i.e. valid matching-pair sale comps) to support those adjustments. George Greanias’ statement is only as reliable as HCAD’s mass appraisal and appeals process. It’s understandable then, that property owners are disconcerted by the potential for an increase in their tax bills.

    William A. McWhorter
    Commercial Property Tax Consultant
    O’Connor & Associates
    713-375-4261 (direct)
    713-263-7795 (fax)

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