Ownwell cuts assessment after land value increases 5x

Ownwell secures reduction to prior year assessed value after 482% proposed increase by county.

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In 2023, the owner of a roughly 6-acre narrow tract of commercially zoned vacant land near Austin Airport received a shocking assessment. The Travis Central Appraisal District (CAD) determined that the land value had soared from $175,000 in 2022 to $1,018,585 in 2023, marking a remarkable 482% increase.

Property Characteristics

Ownwell undertook a comprehensive review of the property's characteristics to advocate for a reduction. The property presented several challenges that negatively impacted its market value.

  1. Location within the FEMA 100-year floodplain: Ownwell agents demonstrated that this designation limited the property's development potential, thus diminishing its market value.
  2. Unusual shape: The long and narrow shape restricted development options, warranting a downward adjustment in value.
  3. Presence of large encampments: Satellite imagery indicated several large homeless encampments on the subject property. These images along with news articles about incidents such as fires at nearby encampments were presented to illustrate how this aspect of the property adversely affected its marketability and value.

County Evidence

Upon scrutinizing the CAD's evidence, Ownwell found it lacking justification for the substantial increase. During the hearing, Ownwell agents challenged the county's evidence in an attempt to discredit the appraiser.

  1. Insufficient sales data: Ownwell argued that the sales used by the county were inadequate to justify the increase, as they involved parcels of land smaller than the subject property and included improvements not present on the subject land.
  2. Lack of comparability: The CAD suggested assessing the subject property based on a per square foot basis similar to surrounding developed industrial properties. Ownwell countered by highlighting the differences, such as the absence of floodplain designation and the unusual shape of the subject property.


After presenting compelling arguments regarding the property's unique characteristics and the flaws in the county's evidence, Ownwell concluded that the CAD had failed to meet the burden of proof. Consequently, the Appraisal Review Board unanimously ruled in favor of the property owner, reverting the assessed value to $175,000, the previous year's value. This reduction from $1,018,585 to $175,000 translated to a tax savings of $18,246 for the customer.

What were the results?

Prior Assessment$1,018,585
Post Ownwell$175,000
Assessment Reduction$843,585
Tax Savings$18,246
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