Want to save cash? Avoid these places with pricy property taxes

March 1, 2018 - 2 min read

The priciest property taxes

Property taxes vary greatly across the country, either representing a mere blip on the radar or a massive, savings-depleting annual cost. Want to make sure yours fall into the former category? Then avoid New Jersey – and head to Hawaii.

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All hail Hawaii

WalletHub recently ranked all 50 states by both their real estate and vehicle taxes. Coming out on top for property taxes was sunny Hawaii, with a tax rate of just 0.27 percent. Taxes on a $185,000 home there run just $501 per year. On a median-priced home for the area ($538K), they clock in at just under $1,500.

For comparison’s sake, the average American pays $2,197 in property taxes annually. In the 27 states that have vehicle taxes, they pay about $436 a year.

Get property tax discounts via the Homestead Exemption

Also coming in with low tax rates and average annual tax payments were Alabama, Louisiana, Delaware and the District of Columbia. Though Alabama has the second-lowest tax rate, it claims the single lowest property taxes when taking the median home value into consideration. Residents who own a $128K home – the state’s median price – pay just $550 a year.

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Where to avoid

If you’re hoping to avoid sky-high property taxes, then steer clear of New Jersey. The state claims the nation’s highest tax rate at 2.40 percent. On a $185K home, a resident would pay more than $4,400 in annual property taxes – 8.9 times the costs Hawaiians face. On a median-priced home of $316K? They’d pay upwards of $7,600 a year.

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Other states with high property tax rates were Illinois, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Wisconsin.

According to Stephen J. Lusch, Professor of Accounting in the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University, buyers should carefully consider location if property taxes are a concern.

“In states where property taxes are high, such as my home state of Texas, the location of your property can make a big difference though,” Lusch said. “There are areas of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex where if you purchase a house a block or two over, you may pay a few thousand dollars less in property taxes per year, because the property falls into a different county, city, school district, etc.”

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Aly J. Yale
Authored By: Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor
Aly J. Yale is a mortgage and real estate writer based in Houston who has contributed to Forbes and worked for organizations such as The Dallas Morning News, PBS, NBC, and Radio Disney.