Valuation reprieve welcome but trend likely short term
De Soto homeowners accustomed to being hammered with double-digit or near double-digit increases in annual home valuations had to be pleased that trend eased this year. The overall average increase of 4.68 percent was the smallest of this decade and less than 6 percent of De Soto homes increased in value by double digits.
The county appraiser's valuations are in essence the appraiser's estimate of market values, and as such valuations are always a double-edged sword. Increases are in effect tax increases, but they also assure homeowners their most valuable possessions were sound investments.
This year there were a growing number of De Soto homeowners with reason to be alarmed as the county appraiser found the market value of their homes actually decreased last year.
For the most part, the slowdown can be directly traced to last year's slump in the residential housing market. The lower appraisal increases should be viewed by most homeowners as only a short-term reprieve.
But the increasing number of declining value homes does lend support to the two city initiatives of rental inspections and downtown revitalization that are meant to prevent a long-term slide of home values in old-town De Soto.