BY Chris Essig and Brandon Formby

How much Texas property owners pay every year in property taxes is determined by a basic formula based on the appraised value of their land and buildings, the exemptions for which they qualify, and the tax rates set by local government entities like cities, counties and school districts. But other forces can influence those annual tax bills.

State law requires that property appraisals reflect their market value. Texas’ population grew from 25.1 million to 28.7 million between 2010 and 2018, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. That pushed up the demand for housing, so those market values have also surged across the state — from gentrifying urban neighborhoods to sprawling suburban enclaves.

As state lawmakers try to slow the growth of property taxes this year, we explored how different factors affected the property tax bills for four Texas homes between 2013 and 2018. The properties reflect the state’s varied geographies, neighborhoods, homeowner demographics and tax situations.


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