Urban Fold

Density Drives Tax Revenue in D.C.'s Suburbs

James Bacon examines how in Washington DC's suburbs high-density developments produce significantly more tax revenue per acre than low density developments.

Reviewing a recent study, James Bacon notes the significant disparities in tax revenue yields per acre between high-density and low-density developments found in Washington's suburbs

"The chasm in revenues per acre is mind-boggling — high-rise condominiums yield literally 100 times more taxes per acre than single-family dwellings, which occupy over half the county’s land area. Unfortunately for Fairfax County, the highest grossing land uses comprise only a tiny fraction of the county’s land."

Bacon also notes that an analysis of tax revenue yield per acre reveals how regressive current property taxes may be:

"At the Shady Oak neighborhood in the Great Falls area bordering the Potomac River. The average single-family home value in the area exceeds $1.5 million and the average lot size is almost five acres. Homeowners pay what they undoubtedly feel are high taxes — averaging $3,463 per acre. (At nearly five acres per house, that implies the average homeowner pays roughly $17,000 yearly in property taxes.) Yet on a per-acre basis, McKeeman says, Shady Oak homeowners pay less than property owners of Fairfax’s mobile home parks."

Full Story: Land Use and Tax Revenue in Fairfax County

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