Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
The cities with the highest (and lowest) property taxes
spotlight AP

The cities with the highest (and lowest) property taxes

  • 0

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Depending on local tax rates and home values, property taxes can account for a substantial portion of housing costs. According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the median annual property tax paid by homeowners was $2,578 in 2019, or 1.03 percent of home value, but many households pay far more than this. Further, beginning in 2018, the SALT tax cap began limiting the amount of state and local taxes that could be deducted against federal income taxes. Consequently, living in a high-tax state has become increasingly more expensive.


Census Bureau data shows that in aggregate, property taxes are the biggest source of tax revenue for state and local governments. Nationally, state and local property taxes totaled $617 billion in 2019, or 39 percent of total state and local government tax revenue. Property tax revenue amounted to $159 billion more than the next largest state and local government tax revenue source, individual income taxes.


Property tax rates vary widely by location, making some parts of the U.S. far more expensive to live. While property taxes are levied in different ways based on local and state laws, a helpful way to compare tax burdens across locations is to calculate an effective property tax rate by dividing the total property taxes paid by the aggregate value of homes in a given area.


At the state level, Americans living in New Jersey and Illinois tend to pay the most in property taxes relative to home values. These states have the highest effective property tax rates, at 2.42 and 2.16 percent, respectively. On the other hand, people living in Hawaii and Alabama have much lower property tax bills, with effective property tax rates of 0.40 and 0.28 percent. While the total amount of property tax paid is a function of both tax rates and home values, residents in states with high effective property tax rates also tend to pay the most in absolute terms. For example, the typical New Jersey homeowner paid an astonishing $8,432 in property taxes last year, the highest in the country.


To determine the cities with the highest and lowest property taxes, researchers at Roofstock analyzed the latest housing data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Cities were ranked according to their effective property tax rate, measured as aggregate real estate taxes paid divided by the aggregate value of homes. Researchers also calculated median property taxes paid, median home value, and median household income for owner-occupied homes.


To improve relevance, only cities with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, cities were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size:

  • Small cities: 100,000–149,999
  • Midsize cities: 150,000–349,999
  • Large cities: 350,000 or more

Here are the small and midsize cities with the highest property taxes.



Large Cities With the Highest Property Tax Rates

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

1. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  • Effective property tax rate: 2.17%
  • Median property taxes paid: $3,122
  • Median home value: $133,600
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $66,465

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

2. El Paso, Texas

  • Effective property tax rate: 2.13%
  • Median property taxes paid: $3,136
  • Median home value: $133,600
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $61,830

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

3. Fort Worth, Texas

  • Effective property tax rate: 1.86%
  • Median property taxes paid: $4,155
  • Median home value: $209,400
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $85,273

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

4. San Antonio, Texas

  • Effective property tax rate: 1.85%
  • Median property taxes paid: $3,260
  • Median home value: $171,100
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $70,938

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

5. Arlington, Texas

  • Effective property tax rate: 1.75%
  • Median property taxes paid: $3,889
  • Median home value: $213,800
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $83,119

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

6. Omaha, Nebraska

  • Effective property tax rate: 1.71%
  • Median property taxes paid: $3,283
  • Median home value: $175,800
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $82,650

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

7. Columbus, Ohio

  • Effective property tax rate: 1.62%
  • Median property taxes paid: $2,776
  • Median home value: $173,300
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $77,951

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

8. Austin, Texas

  • Effective property tax rate: 1.53%
  • Median property taxes paid: $6,616
  • Median home value: $378,300
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $114,776

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

9. Cleveland, Ohio

  • Effective property tax rate: 1.51%
  • Median property taxes paid: $1,508
  • Median home value: $71,100
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $47,562

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

10. Dallas, Texas

  • Effective property tax rate: 1.49%
  • Median property taxes paid: $3,840
  • Median home value: $231,400
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $77,286

Large Cities With the Lowest Property Tax Rates

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

1. Colorado Springs, Colorado

  • Effective property tax rate: 0.48%
  • Median property taxes paid: $1,375
  • Median home value: $318,200
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $89,230

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

2. Denver, Colorado

  • Effective property tax rate: 0.49%
  • Median property taxes paid: $2,118
  • Median home value: $447,500
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $103,069

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

3. Mesa, Arizona

  • Effective property tax rate: 0.57%
  • Median property taxes paid: $1,343
  • Median home value: $259,300
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $77,774

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

4. San Francisco, California

  • Effective property tax rate: 0.57%
  • Median property taxes paid: $7,678
  • Median home value: $1,217,500
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $151,654

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

5. Phoenix, Arizona

  • Effective property tax rate: 0.58%
  • Median property taxes paid: $1,537
  • Median home value: $266,600
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $80,217

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

6. Washington, District of Columbia

  • Effective property tax rate: 0.58%
  • Median property taxes paid: $3,647
  • Median home value: $646,500
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $147,678

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

7. Boston, Massachusetts

  • Effective property tax rate: 0.58%
  • Median property taxes paid: $3,667
  • Median home value: $627,000
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $132,762

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

8. Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Effective property tax rate: 0.59%
  • Median property taxes paid: $1,698
  • Median home value: $305,900
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $81,125

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

9. Aurora, Colorado

  • Effective property tax rate: 0.60%
  • Median property taxes paid: $1,793
  • Median home value: $343,000
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $87,867

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

10. Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee

  • Effective property tax rate: 0.60%
  • Median property taxes paid: $1,797
  • Median home value: $287,300
  • Median household income (owner-occupied homes): $83,852

Detailed Findings & Methodology

During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has become the new norm for many workers, with over 40 percent of the U.S. labor force working from home full-time. It is likely that many workers will continue working from home at least part of the time even after the pandemic. The shift towards remote work provides a new level of flexibility for homeowners to relocate from high- to low-tax states, regardless of where their employer is based.


Although the majority of large cities with the highest effective property tax rates are located in Texas, Milwaukee claims the top spot with an effective property tax rate of 2.17 percent, over twice the national effective property tax rate of 1.03 percent. In addition to Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut claim many of the small and midsize cities with the highest property taxes, with effective property tax rates that are several times higher than the national rate. Indeed, three small cities in New Jersey and Connecticut have effective property tax rates over 3.0 percent. The median property taxes paid is nearly $9,000 in Elizabeth, NJ, the small city with the highest effective property tax rate.


To determine the cities with the highest property taxes, researchers at Roofstock analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. Cities were ranked according to their effective property tax rate, measured as aggregate real estate taxes paid divided by the aggregate value of homes. In the event of a tie, the city with higher aggregate real estate taxes paid was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated median property taxes paid, median home value, and median household income for owner-occupied homes.

To improve relevance, only cities with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, cities were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size:

  • Small cities: 100,000–149,999
  • Midsize cities: 150,000–349,999
  • Large cities: 350,000 or more

Make your house a home

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

Weekend Things to Do

News Alert