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Property Taxes By State: The Lowest to Highest

Nicki and Karen » December 25, 2023

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Searching for the perfect home involves a myriad of considerations, from neighborhood charm to proximity to essential amenities. However, nestled within the folds of homeownership is a financial facet that carries substantial weight — property taxes. In all 50 states across the United States, property owners find themselves tethered to the obligation of real estate taxes, a financial commitment that significantly varies from state to state.

As prospective homeowners embark on the journey of real estate exploration, the landscape of property taxes looms large. Beyond the architectural aesthetics and community allure, the fiscal responsibility tied to local schools, infrastructure, and public services becomes a crucial factor. Property taxes, or real estate taxes, form the backbone of local government revenue, acting as a cornerstone for funding essential projects like schools, road construction, and public safety initiatives.

This article endeavors to shed light on the intricacies of property taxes, unraveling the diverse tapestry that binds homeowners to fiscal obligations. Whether you’re contemplating a move or simply seeking to understand the financial nuances of homeownership, this exploration into property taxes aims to be your compass. Join us on a journey through the 10 best and worst states for property taxes, unraveling the financial narratives that shape the landscape of real estate ownership in the United States.


Understanding Property Taxes: Deciphering the Financial Backbone

Before delving into the nuances of property taxes across states, it’s imperative to grasp the fundamental principles that underpin this financial obligation. Property taxes, also known as real estate taxes, constitute payments made by property owners to local or county tax authorities. The amount levied is intricately tied to the assessed value of a home, creating a system where the financial burden fluctuates based on geographical location and the property’s overall value.

The assessment process is a critical aspect of property taxes. While the assessed value ideally aligns with the actual market value of a property, disparities often exist. This divergence can significantly impact the final tax amount. The assessment is rooted in a unit called a mill, equivalent to one-thousandth of a dollar. Assessors determine the annual property tax liability by multiplying three key values: the state tax rate, the assessment ratio (representing the portion of the property value subject to tax), and the property value itself. These values, susceptible to market fluctuations, contribute to the dynamic nature of property tax calculations.

Moreover, states vary in their approaches to property assessments. Some conduct assessments annually, while others adopt a biennial schedule. These divergent methodologies add an additional layer of complexity to the already intricate landscape of property taxes.

It’s essential to recognize that property taxes serve as a financial cornerstone for local communities. The revenue generated contributes to vital aspects of community development, including infrastructure enhancements, public services, and support for local public schooling. As homeowners navigate the labyrinth of property ownership, understanding the mechanics of property taxes becomes paramount, influencing decisions and shaping the overall landscape of homeownership costs.

The 10 Best States for Property Taxes: Navigating Affordability and Financial Appeal

For prospective homeowners, the allure of a new property extends beyond aesthetics and location to the financial implications embedded in property taxes. These levies, varying across states, can significantly impact the overall cost of homeownership. To shed light on this aspect, we present a comprehensive overview of the 10 best states for property taxes, unraveling the intricacies that make them stand out in terms of affordability and financial appeal.


1. Hawaii

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 0.31%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $828,002
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $2,566.81
  • Median Household Income (2019): $83,102

2. Alabama

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 0.37%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $189,976
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $702.91
  • Median Household Income (2019): $51,734

3. Louisiana

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 0.51%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $203,222
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $1,036.43
  • Median Household Income (2019): $51,073

4. Wyoming

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 0.51%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $303,325
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $1,546.96
  • Median Household Income (2019): $65,003

5. Colorado

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 0.52%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $545,794
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $2,838.13
  • Median Household Income (2019): $77,127

6. South Carolina

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 0.53%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $261,882
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $1,387.97
  • Median Household Income (2019): $56,227

7. West Virginia

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 0.53%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $126,948
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $672.82
  • Median Household Income (2019): $48,850

8. Utah

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 0.56%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $529,509
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $2,965.25
  • Median Household Income (2019): $75,780

9. Delaware

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 0.59%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $332,115
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $1,959.48
  • Median Household Income (2019): $70,176

10. Arkansas

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 0.61%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $166,566
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $1,016.05
  • Median Household Income (2019): $48,952

Unraveling the financial dynamics, these states showcase a delicate equilibrium between effective property tax rates, home values, and median household incomes, making them standout choices for those seeking a harmonious blend of affordability and homeownership. Whether nestled in the serene landscapes of Hawaii or embracing the southern charm of Alabama, these states beckon with the promise of both a welcoming home and a friendly tax environment.

The 10 Worst States for Property Taxes: Navigating the Tax Landscape

While some states offer a haven of affordability when it comes to property taxes, others present a more daunting financial landscape for homeowners. Understanding the intricacies of property tax rates, typical home values, and median household incomes is crucial in evaluating the overall burden of property ownership. Here, we delve into the 10 worst states for property taxes, exploring the challenges they pose for residents in terms of tax obligations.

new jersey

1. New Jersey

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 2.13%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $335,600
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $5,419

2. Illinois

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 1.97%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $194,500
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $4,942

3. New Hampshire

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 1.89%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $261,700
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $4,738

4. Vermont

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 1.76%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $227,700
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $4,135

5. Connecticut

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 1.73%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $275,400
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $4,658

6. Texas

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 1.60%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $172,500
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $3,907

7. Nebraska

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 1.54%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $155,800
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $3,754

8. Wisconsin

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 1.53%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $180,600
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $4,027

9. Ohio

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 1.52%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $145,700
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $3,390

10. Iowa

  • Effective Property Tax Rate (2019): 1.43%
  • Typical Home Value (2022): $147,800
  • Annual Taxes on Home at State Typical Value: $3,407

These states, though diverse in geography and culture, share a common challenge—property taxes that place a significant burden on homeowners. Whether grappling with the high-tax environment of New Jersey or navigating the challenges of property ownership in Texas, residents in these states face substantial financial considerations when it comes to their homes. Understanding these challenges is paramount for those contemplating homeownership in these regions.

No Property Taxes: Myth or Reality?

The idea of living in a state without the weighty burden of property taxes might sound like a dream for many homeowners. However, in the vast landscape of property tax regulations across the United States, the notion of completely evading property taxes is more myth than reality.

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Alaska’s Unique Scenario

Alaska, often celebrated as a state with no property taxes, presents a nuanced scenario upon closer inspection. The truth is that specific remote and thinly populated parts of Alaska bask in a tax-free status, rendering it a distinctive case. However, for the majority of Alaskan residents, property taxes constitute an integral aspect of homeownership.

Myth of Tax-Free States

Dispelling the myth of entirely tax-free states is essential. Even in states like Alaska, where specific areas relish a tax-free status, the majority of residents, especially those in urban or densely populated regions, are subject to property taxes. It is paramount to shift the focus from the misconception of entirely tax-free states to understanding available exemptions and relief programs.

While the notion of residing in a state without property taxes might capture the imagination, the reality is more nuanced. Understanding the specific tax landscape of each state, the existence of exemptions, and the eligibility criteria for relief programs is crucial for informed homeownership decisions. Aspiring homeowners should approach the property tax landscape with clarity, navigating the various programs and exemptions available to mitigate the financial impact of property ownership.

Property Tax Exemptions and Programs

Property taxes, a ubiquitous aspect of homeownership, often prompt individuals to explore avenues that offer relief from the financial burden. While complete exemption from property taxes is a rarity, various exemptions and programs exist across states to alleviate the impact on specific groups and individuals. Understanding these initiatives is crucial for homeowners seeking to optimize their property tax obligations.

  • Homestead Exemption: The Homestead Exemption, a widely embraced program, is specifically crafted to alleviate the tax burden on homeowners who designate their property as their primary residence. While the details may differ by state, this exemption typically leads to a reduction in the assessed value of the property, resulting in lowered property taxes. Homeowners are advised to delve into the eligibility criteria and application processes applicable to their respective states.
  • Senior Citizen Exemptions: Recognizing the financial constraints faced by senior citizens, many states have implemented targeted exemptions or deferral programs. These initiatives are designed to ease the property tax burden on elderly individuals, enabling them to retain their homes without succumbing to overwhelming tax obligations. Eligibility often hinges on factors such as age, income, and residency status.
  • STAR (School Tax Relief) Programs: Widespread in several states, STAR programs concentrate on providing tax relief specifically related to school taxes. Primarily targeting primary residences, these initiatives seek to mitigate the impact of property taxes earmarked for funding local schools. Homeowners are encouraged to explore the availability and criteria of STAR programs in their respective states.
  • Disability Exemptions: Acknowledging the distinct financial challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, many states extend property tax exemptions. While these exemptions may vary, their general aim is to lessen the tax burden for homeowners dealing with disability-related expenses. Understanding the specific criteria and documentation requirements is vital for those seeking such exemptions.
  • Veterans Exemptions: In recognition of their service to the country, veterans may qualify for property tax exemptions in certain states. These exemptions often take into account factors such as disability status and military service-related considerations. Veterans are encouraged to explore the available programs in their state and ensure they meet the specified criteria.
  • Income-Based Exemptions: Some states provide income-based exemptions, considering the financial circumstances of homeowners. These programs aim to offer relief to low-income individuals or families, potentially reducing or eliminating property tax obligations based on income thresholds. Homeowners should acquaint themselves with the income criteria and application processes associated with such exemptions.
  • Navigating the Application Process: Each exemption or relief program comes with its unique set of eligibility criteria and application procedures. Homeowners seeking to benefit from these initiatives must carefully navigate the application process. Timely submission of accurate documentation is crucial to ensure the seamless processing of exemptions and the realization of potential tax savings.

In conclusion, property tax exemptions and programs offer a diversified landscape of relief options for homeowners. Navigating this landscape requires a proactive approach, with homeowners researching and understanding the specific programs available in their state. By leveraging these exemptions, individuals can strategically manage their property tax obligations and, in some cases, experience significant relief from the financial burdens associated with homeownership.


As you embark on the journey of homeownership, the intricacies of property taxes undoubtedly play a significant role in shaping your financial landscape. Making informed decisions about where to buy your home involves more than just considering the aesthetics of the neighborhood or the size of the house. It requires a nuanced understanding of the property tax dynamics, exemptions, and overall tax burden associated with your chosen location.

When contemplating the purchase of a home, astute homebuyers go beyond mere considerations of the purchase price and mortgage rates. They recognize the pivotal role that property taxes play in the overall financial landscape of homeownership. Given the considerable variation in annual property tax bills from state to state, it becomes imperative to factor this into your financial deliberations. Assessing potential homes necessitates taking a comprehensive view of the associated property tax obligations.

Before finalizing your decision on a home purchase, it is crucial to delve into the property tax exemptions and relief programs available in the states under consideration. Certain states offer substantial relief to specific groups, including seniors, veterans, or individuals with disabilities. A comprehensive understanding of these programs and the strategic utilization of such opportunities can significantly impact the long-term affordability of homeownership.

While property taxes are a critical component of the cost-of-living equation, they represent just one facet of the overall picture. It is essential to consider other factors such as state income tax rates, sales tax rates, and general living expenses. A state boasting lower property taxes may concurrently harbor other costs that offset the apparent savings. Achieving a harmonious equilibrium between property taxes and the broader financial landscape is pivotal for making a well-informed decision.

A prudent approach to choosing a home involves anticipating future scenarios. Consider potential changes in income, family size, and property values. The financial viability of a home today should align with your long-term financial goals, necessitating consideration of potential shifts in property tax rates and your eligibility for exemption programs. Ensuring that your homeownership decision stands the test of time requires foresight and strategic financial planning.

In navigating the intricacies of property taxes, engaging with local real estate agents, tax professionals, and financial advisors is invaluable. These experts possess a deep understanding of the local property tax landscape, providing valuable insights into how property taxes may evolve over time and how they compare across different regions. Local expertise becomes an indispensable resource in making well-informed decisions in the realm of homeownership.

In conclusion, choosing a home wisely involves a comprehensive understanding of the property tax implications specific to your desired location. By factoring property taxes into your decision-making process, exploring available exemptions, and considering the broader financial context, you position yourself to make a home purchase that aligns with your current and future financial well-being. The bottom line: a thoughtful and informed approach to property taxes is a key element in the pursuit of a financially sound homeownership experience.

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