Property taxes can make or break a home purchase. Consider certain regions of the Northeast where property taxes are notoriously high—like Hunterdon County, New Jersey (which has the third-highest property taxes in the country), where I grew up. When we sold our family home (assessed at $548,700) in 2009, our property taxes were an outrageous $15,620. Today I live in a home of similar value in Jefferson County, Colorado, where I pay less than $3,000 a year in property taxes.
Between 2011 and 2015, according to analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau, the median annual property tax bill in the U.S. was around $2,150. But this increased to $10,000 a year or more in some areas of the northeast (including New Jersey) during that time period.
This week, information company RewardExpert released its ranking of the Best U.S. Counties for Property Taxes — in hopes of helping prospective homebuyers catch a break on their next property purchase. “Buying a home is a big move and is often a family’s biggest financial investment,” said RewardExpert co-founder and CEO Roman Shteyn in a press release. “It can seem unfair to continue paying for a house that has already been bought and paid for, so choosing the right place to invest can help mitigate long-term expenses.”
The report identifies the top five counties in the six major geographical regions of the country: northeast, south atlantic, south central, midwest, mountain west, and pacific west. The full report can be viewed here, but we’ll look at the top counties in each region in this post.
Sussex County, Delaware
This coastal county situated on the Delmarva Peninsula takes first place in the region, thanks to its assessment ratio: the county only levies taxes on 50 percent of a property’s market value, reducing its already low .75 percent property tax to an effective .37 percent rate.
Average annual tax bill in Sussex County: $1,228
Darlington County, South Carolina
South Carolina assess property at full market value, but the first $100,000 of a home’s assessed value is exempt. The median property value in this county (northwest of Myrtle Beach) is $139,00, which results in a tax bill based only on $39,000.
Average annual tax bill in Darlington County: $146
Crawford County, Arkansas
The south central region is dominated by counties in Arkansas and New Mexico — due to low property assessments there. In the Ozarks’ Crawford County, property tax bills amount to just over one-tenth of a percent of the average home value.
Average annual tax bill in Crawford County: $192
Grant County, Indiana
Grant County homes have a median sale price of $75,945, and tax bills here are the lowest in the country.
Average annual tax bill in Grant County: $24.50
Pueblo County, Colorado
Colorado sweeps the region for low property taxes. Here, residential property is assessed at a very low 7.96 percent of fair market value. Pueblo County offers modest property values (an average home sells for $205,000) and exceptionally affordable yearly tax bills.
Average annual tax bill in Pueblo County: $371
Klamath County, Oregon
Beautiful Klamath County is home to some of the most affordable real estate in the region (the median sale price is $194,000). The county charges a reasonable 1.23 percent tax rate, and Oregon has no property transfer tax.
Average annual tax bill in Klamath County: $2,378
For more on nationwide property tax burdens, check out this interactive map!
What do you think about the drastic tax differences by region?
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