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El Paso County sees dip in property values results in budget shortfall

By: Genevieve Curtis
El Paso County began budget workshops this week and County Commissioner Vince Perez said they're looking at about a billion dollar shortfall compared to last year.

One the biggest factors to that shortfall is a decrease in property values.

The assistant chief appraiser for El Paso's central appraisal district, David Stone, said the dip in values amounts to about $500 million.

The decrease in values appears confusing despite the growth El Paso has seen.

Stone said homes are sitting on the market longer. While six months is considered about average it's taking about eight months to sell a home in El Paso.

New housing developments are popping up in all corners of the county and while residential building permits increased slightly, the amount of available inventory takes the pressure off the market and existing homes.

In other cities in Texas, a shortage in housing has driven up the value on existing homes.

Stone said the county saw a 43 percent decrease in its commercial building permits last year.

While El Paso saw new developments like the downtown ballpark, the Fountains and Farah and Montecillo, other commercial industries like Hoover shut down.

While various factors maybe contributing to the dip in property values it still leaves the county taxpayers a tight position.

In order for the county to collect the same revenue it did last year, county leaders would have to raise the tax rate by about one penny or make budget cuts.

Despite the dip, CAD officials said the change isn't alarming as a market as a whole.

"It's not a large decrease we are not seeing the bottom fall out of the market in El Paso," said Stone.

Stone said El Paso's market remains very stable compared to other cities in Texas that experience more dramatic fluctuations.