A new residential property tax study has been completed by the Tax Policy Center, and not all of the news is surprising. The study was conducted by analyzing data from the American Community Survey, and to many, it’s completely unsurprising that areas in and around New York City have the most expensive property taxes in the country. Some areas in Louisiana and Alabama scored lowest in property tax burdens.


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The results of the study were based on data from entire counties and stated there is wide variance between communities. On average, the study showed that about 60 percent of counties across the country pay between $500 and $1,500 per residence during the period between 2007 and 2011.

The same number of counties during that time had property tax bills that were less than 1 percent of their median home value. Property tax bills between 1 and 2 percent were common in 37 percent of counties with the remaining 3 percent paying in excess of 3 percent.

States with the highest property taxes

Homes in the suburbs of New York City and nearby northern New Jersey garnered the most in annual property taxes. The two most expensive counties were in New York state. Westchester County, N.Y., which covers Rye and Armonk, topped in at $9,647 a year, Nassau County, N.Y. on Long Island, which is closest to the city and includes Hempstead and Hicksville, weighed in at a hefty $9,080.

In New Jersey, Bergen County, which includes Hackensack and Paramus, takes the third highest slot at a robust $8,893. Home values are also very high in these areas.

Counties in California and around Washington, D.C. were also among those counties carrying the highest property tax burdens.

The study didn’t limit data to counties. By state, most households pay average property tax revenues between $1,000 and $3,000 with the exception of 10 states. Average property taxes of $1,000 or less were paid in eight states, all mostly located in the south.

Data by housing values

The data was also broken down by share of housing values in relation to the tax bill. The report stated that residents in all but 14 states paid between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent in taxes, and residents of only three states, Delaware, Hawaii, and Louisiana, paid 0.5 percent or less. Residents in 11 states, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin, all paid more than 1.5 percent.

The report stated, “Comparisons tax burdens in dollar terms can be deceiving as they are mostly driven by variation in housing prices, rather than variation in tax rates.”

Parts of the Midwest and Texas also showed higher property taxes relative to other counties when the data was based on the share of housing values. Some of the areas which ranked high as a percentage of housing values ranked lower when taxes were measured in dollars. Those include parts of Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Ohio. The study also noted that areas with high property tax burdens also had few local taxes, such as New Hampshire.

According to the study, local governments rely on about 75 percent of their operating revenue from property taxes, and is often tied to spending in education and financing local schools.

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