Property Tax Disparities Grow as Housing Prices Grow

The authoritative report on the state of property taxes in the United States was released earlier this month.

2 minute read

June 18, 2020, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


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The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence released the annual "50-State Property Tax Comparison Study" in June, exploring the key factors influencing property taxes, and "providing a comprehensive analysis of effective property tax rates—the tax paid as a percentage of market value—in 123 cities in every U.S. state and Washington, DC."

Will Jason writes an article to highlight some of the findings of the 2020 edition of the annual report, focusing especially on the disparities in property tax rates in some places. 

In Los Angeles, for example, "someone who has owned a median-priced home for 14 years—the average length of ownership in the city—paid about $4,400 in property taxes last year, or about $3,600 less than a new owner of an identical home, who paid nearly $8,000," according to Jason. "This gap between the tax bills for new and established homeowners grew by $400 last year alone, and has increased by $1,500 in the past four years."

"Los Angeles is one of 29 large cities included in the report where assessment limits cap annual growth in the assessed value of individual properities [sic]," according to the article. In all of the cities, the disparities in property tax burden between new homeowners and more tenured homeowners has grown quickly in recent years. 

The report also includes the annual rankings of the cities in the country with the highest and lowest effective property tax rates for both residential and commercial properties. In 2019, the cities with the highest effective property tax rate on a median value home were listed as follows:

  1. Aurora, Illinois
  2. Bridegport, Connecticut
  3. Newark, New Jersey
  4. Detroit, Michigan
  5. Portland, Oregon. 

The cities with the lowest tax rates, measured as the lowest effect property tax rate of the median value home:

  1. Cheyenne, Wyoming
  2. Denver, Colorado
  3. Charleston, South Carolina
  4. Boston, Massachusetts
  5. Honolulu, Hawaii

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 in Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

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