HABITAT

LEGAL/FINANCIAL

Property Taxes Are Highest in the Suburbs

Westchester County

Suburban Taxes

That dream home in the New York suburbs comes with a hefty property tax bill.

April 10, 2018

Homeowners in the five boroughs of New York City can agree on one thing: property taxes are too high and they’re unfairly assessed. A lawsuit has been filed seeking a court-ordered solution to the long-standing inequities, and Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to tackle the issue during his second term. Now comes a bit of heartening news: things could be worse, New Yorkers; you could be living in the suburbs. 

Among the 10 U.S. counties with the highest average property tax bills last year, nine are within commuting distance of Manhattan, a new analysis by Attom Data Solutions shows. Marin County, north of San Francisco, is the only one outside the region, Bloomberg  reports

Topping the list is Westchester County, home of Scarsdale and Bronxville, where the average property tax bill was $17,179, well above the new $10,000 limit on deductions for state and local levies under the GOP tax law. (The new tax law limits the mortgage-interest deduction as well at new loans of $750,000.) 

In the No. 2 spot is Rockland County, just across the Hudson River, where homeowners paid an average of $12,924 last year. Nassau County landed at No. 5, Connecticut’s Fairfield County was No. 8, and the rest of the spots all went to counties in New Jersey: Essex, Bergen, Union, Morris and Passaic. 

In the latest budget, New York state legislators created two loopholes designed to allow taxpayers to convert property tax payments into charitable donations and then writing them off, effectively reducing the burden. It’s unclear if the Internal Revenue Service will permit the practice. 

“There’s a bullseye on New York City and surrounding counties,” says Daren Blomquist, a senior vice president at Attom Data Solutions. “Some folks are going to want to sell, and there could be weaker demand for some homes in those areas as well.”

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