New bill would require broader home sale price disclosures in Texas

by Evi Arthur

A new bill that would require the disclosure of sale prices for homes sold to certain government entities aims to bring more money into the state’s coffers and increase transparency in the way properties are assessed throughout the state.

Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) has proposed a bill in the Texas House that would mandate the sales price of property sold to appraisal districts and the Comptroller to be public.

The Texas Association of Realtors isn’t sold, and is firmly opposing the bill.

The purpose of the bill, introduced mid-February and currently pending committee approval, is to encourage consistency in the process of appraising properties, both residential and commercial, Beckley told the House Business & Industry committee.

The bill is supported by school district leaders and appraisal districts.

President Tray Bates of Bates Commercial, in Corpus Christi, noted to the that TAR has long objected to legislation requiring the release of these sale prices and called such disclosure unnecessary.

“Neither counties nor the Comptroller need it to conduct their duties accurately,” Bates told the Houston Business Journal.

Appraisal districts in the state performed a study where they found that more accurate appraisals could increase state property tax revenue by more than $4 billion, mostly from luxury homes and commercial properties. However, members of the house committee were doubtful, indicating that sale price disclosures could turn into a slippery slope, making way for future transfer taxes and that they would ultimately only increase inaccuracies, according to the Houston Business Journal.

Others, like Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, have shown support for the bill. “This is a controversial proposal, but somebody needs to know what these values are,” Martinez Fischer told the Houston Business Journal. “Even making this available to the Comptroller, just to make sure the appraisal methods are sound.”

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