After more than a year of weak oil prices, the fallout of roomnight demand in oil-producing areas has waned as supply growth continues its strong upward momentum, which means more trouble ahead for hoteliers. According to Hotel News Now, the decline in demand can easily be traced back to the price of oil. As oil prices hovered around $100 per barrel, new oil and gas wells needed additional workers and offered employment for many. But the lack of accommodations in the rather undeveloped areas of the U.S. forced workers to, in the beginning, sleep in their cars and then in “man camps” until finally hotel development caught up with the rapid demand. But as much as room demand increased when oil prices were high, it waned quickly when oil prices, and thus production and employment, decreased rapidly in 2015. Room demand changes in the submarkets* that are primarily driven by the oil and gas industry have been negative since March 2015 and decreased more than 10% successively in the last three months ending January 2016. The negative impact of the last few years is only the latest roller coaster change in revenue per available room as the oil prices and supply additions caused hoteliers euphoria in the mid-2000s and heartburn in the more recent past.
Over the past decade, a generous property tax exemption program has helped spur a rapid expansion of wind farms in Oklahoma. The state incentive program exempted local property taxes for five years, and wind developers claimed $32 million in property tax exemptions in 2013, according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission. The same incentive program also helped a power plant boom in Oklahoma after 2000, but lawmakers dropped power plants from the program in 2009. Senate Bill 498 was passed on Friday, which will end the 5-year property tax exemption for wind farms after 2016 if signed by Gov. Mary Fallin. The bill’s passage would allow projects already under development to qualify for the incentive before it ends on Jan. 1, 2017.
For the first time in nearly two decades, Oklahoma is trying to get all county assessment offices to figure property taxes the same way and follow the same method of assessment, with hopes to increase state revenues in the process. The Oklahoma Tax Commission recently conducted a state performance audit, in which 35 counties across the state failed. More than 20 years ago, every county in Oklahoma was given a state-supplied computer software program, CAMA (Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal), however, the counties that failed the audit were not utilizing the system. Oklahoma Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones and other state officials are trying to gradually bring these counties into compliance over the next couple of years.
The national office sector is projected to experience a slowed growth in 2012 due to a damper on demand for new space. However, according to the National Real Estate Investor, select office markets that are home to technology firms and energy companies will continue with steady growth in the foreseeable future. The average office vacancy at the end of 2011 will stand at 16.8%, and is only expected to decrease down to 15.7% over the course of 2012. In addition, average rents of all classes of office properties will continue to stagnate.
Most Texas appraisal districts have mailed out the 2011 Business Personal Property Renditions Forms for the 2011 Tax Year. Renditions must be received by April 15th to avoid a 10 percent penalty. A 30 day extension may be granted to May 15th if a written request is received on or before April 15th. Being that May 15th falls on a Sunday, that deadline will be extended to May 16th.