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Field Guide to Impacts of Property Taxes on Real Estate

(Updated April 2014)

Americans love to hate property taxes despite the fact that local governments depend upon this levy to provide services and programs to local residents. This Field Guide offers articles about the history of property taxes in the United States and also addresses the current housing market and its impact  on real estate taxes. (A. Siudzinski, Senior Library Information Specialist)

Property Taxes (% of Property Value) by State (2011)

  1. New Jersey – 1.89%
  2. New Hampshire – 1.86%
  3. Texas - 1.81%%
  4. Nebraska & Wisconsin - 1.76%
  5. Illinois - 1.73%%
  6. Connecticut - 1.63%
  7. Michigan - 1.62%
  8. Vermont - 1.59%
  9. North Dakota - 1.42%
  10. Ohio - 1.36%
  11. Pennsylvania & Rhode Island - 1.35%
  12. Iowa - 1.29%
  13. New York - 1.23%
  14. Maine - 1.09%
  15. Minnesota - 1.05%

Source: Tax Rates.org, (2011). 

Property Taxes in the News

Tax win inspires copycats, (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 1, 2011).

Incline Village: Blazing the trail for property tax revolts, (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 1, 2011).

Property tax confusion pokes Facebook in Oregon, (USA Today, Oct. 31, 2011).

Upset at Cuomo’s property-tax cap, communities move to get around it, (New York Times, Oct. 24, 2011).

Taxpayers of the wrong race: Corboy v. Louie, (Hawaii Reporter, Oct. 21, 2011).

North Dakota may abolish property tax, (MSN Money, Oct. 18, 2011).

New York, New Jersey Homeowners Pay Highest Property Taxes, (The Tax Foundation, Sept. 28, 2010).

Fighting a tax appraisal (and perhaps something more), (New York Times, May 13, 2010).

Impact on Property Values

Lose home value? Don’t expect a lower property tax bill, (Chicago Sun Times, Sept. 23, 2011).

Higher property taxes blamed on low commercial property values, (KMOV St. Louis, Sept. 22, 2011).

House lost value? Get a property tax do-over, (HSH.com, Mar. 1, 2011).

Property taxes inhibit sales in West Orange, (New York Times, June 23, 2010).

Seeking lower property taxes on a house of sinking value, (New York Times, May 7, 2010).

Lower taxes: Silver lining of falling home prices, (CNN Money, May 27, 2009).

Why Property Taxes Rise While Real Estate Falls, (Gotham Gazette, Apr. 2009).

Property tax revenue plummets with home values, (San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 25, 2009).

Understanding Property Taxes

Residential Property Tax Rates for Largest City in Each State, (Census Bureau, 2011).

Property tax data by county, (MyTaxBurden.org).

Local Property Taxes as a Percentage of Local Tax Revenue, (Tax Policy Center, Oct. 27, 2010).

Getting overcharged? Appeal your property tax bill the smart way, (CNN Money, Aug. 31, 2009).

The dirty little secret about real estate taxes and how they work, (Real Estate Pro, May 9, 2009).

How do property taxes work?, (Tax Policy Center, Oct. 9, 2008).

The influence of race in residential property tax assessments, (Florida State University Journal of Land Use, Fall 2004).

History of property taxes in the U.S., (EH.net Encyclopedia, Oct. 2002).

Property Taxes & Real Estate Values

Property tax increase far outpace inflation in Glencoe, (Glencoe News, June 5, 2012).

Montana family loses home due to unpaid property taxes, (KXLH, Apr. 24, 2012).

Property tax collections to start downward trend, (USA Today, Mar. 13, 2012).

How property taxes climb, even if home value drops, (NPR, Jan. 20, 2012).

Real estate crash catches up to cities as property taxes slide, (Bloomberg, Mar. 29, 2011).

Five property tax questions you need to ask, (REALTOR® Magazine—Handouts for Buyers).

Challenging Your Property Tax Bill

Appraisal Institute provides homeowners with property tax appeal tips, (The Appraisal Institute, Mar. 21, 2013).

Appeal your property tax bill, (HouseLogic.com, Dec. 21, 2012).

Professional tricks to lower your property tax assessment, (Reuters, May 14, 2012).

Property taxes appeals surge, (Chicago Tribune, June 24, 2012).

Feel your property taxes are too high, here’s some tips to lower them, (ActiveRain, May 16, 2012).

Curb appeal: lowering your house assessment, (Fox Business, Mar. 20, 2012).

See how 3 homeowners managed to fight down their property tax bills, (Business Insider, Jan. 26, 2012).

Property tax too high? How to fight the tax man, (ABC News, Jan. 10, 2012).

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

How to Invest In Offshore Real Estate and Pay Little or No Taxes (Adobe PDF eBook )

How to Invest in Real Estate & Pay Little or No Taxes Use Tax Smart Loopholes to Boost Your Profits By 40% (Adobe PDF eBook )

Make Money in Real Estate Tax Liens (Kindle Book; Adobe PDF eBook)

Real Estate Advantages (Overdrive WMA Audiobook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Central. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Property Taxes in Illinois—What is the effect of rapid increases and large drops in house prices on property taxes?, (University of Illinois, 2011). [pdf link]

Challenging the conventional wisdom of the property tax, (Hollis, NH: Puritan Press, 2010). HJ 4120 B14

How to reduce your property taxes, (Genesis Press, 1995). HJ 3241 Ad5

Reduce your property taxes, (Crisp Publications, 1992). HJ 4120 T97

The Worst Tax? A History of the Property Tax in America, (University of Kansas Press, 1996). HJ 4120 F57

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to 1031 Exchanges

Field Guide to Development Impact Fees

Field Guide to Real Estate Transfer Taxes

Field Guide to Schools & the Homebuying Decision

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.