Who Gets the Highest Property Tax Bill?

As property tax rates go, Atlanta is a much nicer place to be than Philadelphia, according to a new 50-state survey.

The Lincoln Institute and the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence have teamed up for the past four years to produce the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s 50 State Property Tax Comparison Study – a national survey of property tax rates.

In their latest report — covering 2013 — Bridgeport, Connecticut posted the highest effective property tax rate, at more than 4%. At the other end of the spectrum stood Columbia, South Carolina, with an effective right of just a tick more than .6%.

That’s quite a wide range of rates. The Lincoln Institute said that one trend they’ve observed is that cities with relatively low property values often have high effective property tax rates.

An extreme example of this trend can be found in Detroit, where a very low median home value of $65,167 translates to a median property tax bill of $2,167. This may seem low to many people, but it actually reflects a median property tax rate of 3.325%.

Some cities keep residential taxes reasonable by taxing business property at a higher rate than owner-occupied primary residences. New York City, for example, taxes commercial properties at a rate 4.98X higher than the rate on a median value home.

Overall, the study found no change, from 2012 to 2013, in the five cities with the highest property tax bills on a median-value home. Bridgeport, Connecticut lead this list, followed by Newark (NJ), Aurora (IL) Philadelphia, and Burlington (VT).

Cities with the lowest rates included Columbia (SC), Charleston (WV), Birmingham (AL), Cheyenne (WY), and Indianapolis (IN).

The study authors said that Indianapolis replaced Atlanta on the 2013 list of cities with the lowest effective rates. However, Atlanta is still one of the top ten metros with the lowest rates.

Copyright Today’s Credit Unions