The national collapse in the housing market has yet to substantially impact Robstown and the rest of Nueces County, according to recent appraisals of property values throughout the county.
Nueces County property values rose 8.7 percent from last year, with the London Independent School District outpacing the rest of the county in the percentage of increased value.
The London ISD experienced a 29.8 percent increase, up from $208,416,490 in 2007 to $270,498,154 this year, according to figures recently released by the Nueces County Appraisal District.
The Driscoll ISD saw the second highest increase with a 25.1 percent increase in property values, up from $118,164,181 in 2007 to $147,806,684 in 2008.
The city of Corpus Christi saw a 5.4 percent increase in property values and the city of Port Aransas saw an 11.6 percent increase.
The city of Robstown saw a 5.96 percent increase in property values, up from $214,887,843 in 2007 to $228,500,663 in 2008.
The Robstown ISD saw a 7.36 percent increase in property values, up from $289,019,125 in 2007 to $311,990,001 in 2008.
The Tuloso-Midway ISD saw a 7.44 percent increase, up from $1,307,866,463 in 2007 to $1,413,054,641 in 2008, while the Calallen ISD saw a 5.36 percent increase, up from $1,136,106,296 in 2007 to $1,200,413,354 in 2008.
"The Texas housing market isn't as bad as the rest of the nation. It is collapsing in some parts of the nation, but not here in Corpus Christi yet," said Nueces County assistant chief appraiser Jay Reynolds. "It will eventually catch up here. We really thought this year we were going to see a tremendous drop in value, but we didn't. The number of sales have slowed down, but fortunately they're still coming out higher."
Reynolds noted the appraisals include the whole package of commercial, industrial, utility, mineral and residential properties, and therefore do not focus on the housing market that has recently experienced record foreclosure rates nationwide.
"We're always a little behind the nation," Reynolds said. "Eventually, Corpus will see a much tougher housing market, but it just hasn't happened yet. I think just the fact that the lending is getting a little stricter, it will slow down and impact the numbers a little bit."
Nueces County Chief Appraiser Ollie Grant said the appraisal values are based on the market value of the properties on Jan. 1, 2008.
"In 2007, market value increases were still prevalent," Grant said. "However, increases slowed in some areas of the district compared to the previous tax year. Generally, taxable values increased overall in the district, and somewhat in most areas of the district."
Grant said many of the investors who purchased and sold real estate in Nueces County in 2006 and 2007, especially in Port Aransas and on Padre Island, have left. But Grant said the investors were a big factor in fueling the market and pushing up market values in those years.
"If we experience high foreclosure rates as are occurring in other areas of the country, market values in 2008 could be impacted negatively as normal sellers compete with banks for sales," Grant said. "We must use sales information from 2007 as a basis for the 2008 appraisal. Sales occurring in 2008 will be used to determine 2009 appraised values."
Grant announced the completion and certification of the district's appraisal roll July 25.
State law requires the chief appraiser to prepare and certify the appraisal rolls listing taxable property within each appraisal taxing unit. The certified roll must contain and list at least 95 percent of all taxable property within each taxing unit where no protests are pending.
The county's various taxing units use the appraisal roll to help determine their tax rates and to assess individual property owners according to the taxable value of their properties when tax bills are prepared.