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A recent study released by BankRate has confirmed a troubling reality for homeowners throughout the United States – i.e., certain states have higher property-tax rates than others.

While taxes levied on real estate are typically used to fund public services, like infrastructure development, law enforcement, and schools, the study found that burden is far from equally distributed or apportioned; with many states impacting their residents with disproportionately higher assessments (when compared to other parts of the country).

According to the data, New Jersey has emerged as the state with the highest property-tax rate, where the average homeowner pays $12,061 in property taxes each year -- more than four times the national average of $2,971. New Hampshire and Connecticut trail slightly behind, with the second and third highest annual property taxes -- at $9,925 and $8,216, respectively

West Virginia, on the other hand, has an average annual property tax of $812. However, lower property-tax rates can correlate to under-funding of public services, such as public schools, which could ultimately harm communities in the long term. And, in effect, local governments may be hindered in their ability to meet public demand for certain services. For example, Michigan has set limits on property taxes and has reportedly faced some budgetary challenges providing local services (such as fire protection).

This recent data emphasizes the importance of understanding the property tax rate in one’s area and planning accordingly. Escalating property taxes can make it difficult for those on fixed-incomes to keep up with mortgages and other financial obligations, particularly given the increasing cost of living in this inflation-fueled economic climate. While it may be tempting to move to a state with lower property taxes, it begs the question of whether that move comes with other costs.

Where should you call home? To learn more about the varying property taxes throughout the nation, see https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/16/realestate/highest-property-taxes.html (subscription may be required)

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