News Roundup: Midland Homeowners To See Higher 2018 Tax Bills


Midland homeowners could see a higher property tax bill in 2018. (Photo courtesy:

Midland homeowners will probably be paying a higher property tax bill in 2018, but not for the reason you might think. We take a look in this week’s news roundup.

Midland Homeowners Could See Higher 2018 Tax Bill

Midland property owners could be paying as much as $178 more in property taxes in 2018, the Midland Reporter-Telegram reported.

The culprit seems to not be rate increases, but home values. “A look at the proposed tax rates show the total tax rate of $1.947881 (per $100 valuation) actually dropped to $1.946961,” the paper reported.

But average home values in Midland are increasing from $211,059 in 2017 to $220,310 in 2018, city figures suggest. The total tax bill for an average home would be $4,289.34, up from the current $4,111.17.

Builder Sentiment Down, But Sales Still Up

With hurricane season still producing heavy-hitting storms, a recent poll of homebuilder sentiment fell slightly as builders worry about labor costs and materials becoming even dearer than they already are.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index slipped to 64 in September, down three points from 67 in August. Still, the reading is above 50, which indicates more builders view sales conditions as good, not poor.

Analyst predictions for the month called for a reading of 67, and although sales of new homes are still ahead of last year’s pace, sales slid in July by 9.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000.

Current sales of single-family homes fell four points to 70, and the outlook for the next six months slid four points to 73 in September. Builders’ expectations for traffic by prospective buyers fell one point to 47.

HARP Extended To End of 2018

The federal agency tasked with overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac says more than 100,000 homeowners haven’t taken advantage of a home refinance program created to help struggling homeowners.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency says that about 143,000 homeowners who could qualify for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (or HARP) haven’t applied, Midland’s NewsWest 9 reported. The FHFA announced it would extend the deadline to take advantage of the program to Dec. 31, 2018.

HARP was established in 2009 to help homeowners refinance after the housing crisis left many with a high loan-to-value ratio that rendered them ineligible for traditional refinancing options.

Refinancing under HARP allows borrowers to take advantage of lower interest rates to reduce loan payments or move out of an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate one.

It is anticipated that this last extension will pave the way for the FHFA’s new High LTV Streamlined Refinance Programs, which are due to replace HARP in 2018.