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No News is Bad News: NY Counties Still Among Most Heavily Taxed

September 12, 2007

New York State homeowners continued to pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation in 2006, according to a new Tax Foundation report based on the latest Census data.

The Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation used figures from the Census Bureau's newly released American Community Survey to calculate median home values and median property taxes for the 783 counties with populations larger than 65,000.   Findings from this year's Tax Foundation analysis include the following:

  • Measuring property taxes as a percentage of home values (also known as the "effective rate"), nine of the 10 most heavily taxed counties in the nation were located in upstate New York.  Wayne County topped the list, with a median property tax equivalent to 2.94 percent of home value -- more than triple the 0.9 percent median effective rate for all the counties in the nationwide sampling.
  • Measuring property taxes in absolute terms, New York counties held down three of the top 10 spots.  Nassau County's median property tax of $7,706 was the second highest in the nation, followed by Westchester's median of $7,626.  Rockland County ranked seventh highest with a median tax of $7,041; the rest of the top 10 list consisted exclusively of northern New Jersey counties.  Nationally, the median homeowner property tax was $1,541.
  • New York's statewide median property tax of $3,301 was fourth highest of any state's.   (The statewide effective tax rate in New York did not rank among the highest -- but this was presumably because property taxes on single-family homes are exceptionally low in New York City, which imposes the nation's heaviest property taxes on apartment buildings and commercial properties.)

The Tax Foundation's "Fiscal Facts" memo aptly summarized the situation as follows:

The Northeast, mainly New Jersey and New York, remains the area with the highest property taxes on homeowners. These states also have high per capita income, and the highest property tax bills, in terms of dollar amounts, are usually found in the areas with the highest incomes. As for the percentage-of-home-value measure, counties in New Jersey and New York still dominate as they tend to impose the highest property tax rates on homeowners as well.

The full listing of property tax burdens for the largest U.S. counties, with a breakout of New York counties, can be found in the Empire Center's Databank.  Look in the "Tax Burdens" section and click the link for "Property Tax on Homes."  The data also can be found at the Tax Foundation's website.