The second biggest cost of home ownership — following the mortgage — is usually property taxes. In 2012, U.S. homeowners paid an average of about $2,800 in property taxes, according to a recent Zillow study. And if you live in New York, New Jersey, or Colorado your taxes were in some cases five times more than the national average. The numbers are based on an average of real estate taxes paid on single family housing in 2012.

The residents of Westchester County in New York pay more in property taxes than the typical resident of any other major American county. The average property tax bill for a single family home in Westchester County comes to $14,829 a year.

Want to know how your county stacks up against the rest of the country? Check out our rankings below.

Adjusting for the average cost of single-family homes in each county, homeowners in Allegany County, NY win the award for the highest property tax burden. The average tax obligation of $2,549 in Allegany County amounts to 3.8 percent of the average single family home value; in Westchester County, the average tax obligation is slightly lower, at 2.5 percent of the county’s average home value. Nationally, the typical homeowner is spending approximately 1.4 percent of their home’s value on annual property taxes. See the full rankings below.


Highest Property Taxes as a Percent of Home Value

  1. Allegany County, NY (3.76%)
  2. Milwaukee County, WI (3.68%)
  3. Kendall County, IL (3.57%)
  4. Sullivan County, NY (3.56%)
  5. Orleans County, NY (3.49%)

Lowest Property Taxes as a Percent of Home Value

  1. Caroline County, VA (0.17%)
  2. Catahoula County, LA and Randolph, AR (0.2%)
  3. Iberville County, LA and Cumberland County, TN (0.21%)
  4. Butler County, PA and Maui County, HI (0.22%)
  5. Elmore County, AL and De Soto County, LA (0.23%)


About the Author

Camille writes about housing trends for the Zillow Blog.

  • Lise Genz

    I am 76 , my husband 69: we pay more than $6,000 /year for real property + school taxes, for a house assessed $118,000, in schenectday county, NY.

  • kkc003

    often “what states have liberal views” then you will see higher taxes.

    money given to the states is not always managed properly, if it was we would not have debts in state or federal governments and everyone would still be taken care of. the waste and abuse is monumental!

    One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.


  • oceanluvr30

    You have no one to blame but yourselves and your neighbors. You live in a state which has milked the
    taxpayer for generations. Either move, or kick the bastards out of
    office but stop complaining. You get the government you vote for.

    “I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing
    good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or
    driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions
    were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of
    course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them,
    the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

    Benjamin Franklin

  • SunshineSunshineSunshine

    What a rip-off. You’re renting from the gov, not owning. Move to another country, perhaps Central or South America or to another state, such as Arkansas or Louisiana, South Carolina, where property taxes are more reasonable as the least. The kind of retards I’ve had to deal with when visiting all across the United States makes me wonder where all those money go that are charged for the school taxes? Definitely not for the education.

  • SunshineSunshineSunshine

    I would also like to add that while the figures may be true (more or less), Zillow has zero credibility and is run by people who do not seem to have benefited from the property tax school tax at all.

  • Job

    Louisiana has parishes, NOT counties. Please correct that.

  • Russ

    The math seems fuzzy. That’s about 5%. The highest percentage in the article shows 3.76% in Allegheny County, NY.

  • Russ

    Or you could move to SC where I pay just under $600 total (city + county) on a $100k house. You could throw your snow shovel away too! :)

  • Russ

    Big whoop….. the article is about taxes not what you call your chunk of land.

  • richard r

    I live in Suffolk county, NY. My 1200sf cape has $11000 a year taxes. I work for NY and have to live here for 4 more years. I am in the process of buying a home in SC. the house is 2000sf and taxes are $560 a year. NY is a welfare state and they need to get the money some ware for the 60% of the people that want to collect from the state. Teachers and police are paid all most $200000 a year. I will retire from NY state with $30000 a year and I will live well on that in SC.

  • Pamela

    Westchester County have some of the highest rated schools in the country, which in turn keeps their property values up. They’re not dumb. They know they’re getting their money’s worth. If they didn’t want to pay those high taxes, they’d move to Arkansas or Louisiana, where I’m guessing the public schools pale in comparison. I grew up in LA during the 60s and 70s and the public schools were excellent. Prop 13 ruined everything. Lower taxes = less funding for schools and libraries = undereducated and non-competitive workers. I don’t get why so many people are anti-tax. You get what you pay for.

  • oceanluvr30

    Yes and as we know only the east coast has the smartest people….listening to some of the crap that comes from the liberals would make you think they have all the answers and are always the smartest people in the room. What BS….keep supporting governments that are corrupt, inept and worse at managing OUR money than any bank or mutual fund.

  • Lise Genz

    Richard you’re right : unfortunately , we have our family here. We are searching something maybe in Vermont ?

  • Lise Genz

    well, we can say the same for NY state ! I think it’s a shame. Here, in Schenectady, half of the city are house for rent ( duplexes, and so on)

  • Dylan Wesley Crewell

    If you do not live in Schenectady City proper then I do not feel too bad. Schools are not terrible, crime is low, and you have all the services you need (Granted I am sure there is redundancy). P.S. Go Union

    Go live in Arkansas or Louisiana and enjoy the dank summers poor education systems (going by data not judgement). Or go to South America and live among real poverty.

  • Lise Genz

    well said but not everybody can govern, my dear : we have to leave room for the young.

  • Lise Genz

    no, no no : for NY state, the figures are right

  • Lise Genz

    Dear, our son bought a house 2 years ago – he is 40, married, no children. The house is beautiful and was not expensive ( houses here are not expensive to buy ! ) He has a mortgage of $5,000 /year and taxes goes up to 7.500 !
    Yes, he is thinking about selling his house and go renting.

  • Lise Genz

    Thank you, dear ; no need to be rude. Have a great evening.

  • Lise Genz

    School taxes are higher than City Tax, here. And the schools in Schenectady are rated 2 on a scale of 10, go figure.
    I am wondering why no journalist never made a national article on my little town abuses on us homeowners.

  • Stacy Steinitz Carey

    This is a great article! Where does Loudoun County, Virginia fall in the rankings?

  • Lise Genz

    hi hi that’s true and my husband said this every winter ( we are just out of snow for the past 2 days ! :)

  • Kimmie

    Why would anyone want to live in NY? Seriously, the weather is abysmal, the taxes are sky high, you have jobs there, that’s about it. Is it worth it though? I don’t think so. I’m staying here in sunny so cal and my property taxes are less than $1800 per year.

  • Mickey B

    Not high enough if its $27M school budget shortfall is any measure.

  • mar

    we’re in upstate NY north of Syracuse. Onondaga county in Syr. was rated the highest in the nation for years, higher than Washington ,DC. We moved across the river to Oswego Ct. & are 30miles from Syracuse & pay $6000 for $164k appraisal . Way too much to live in the woods. Would be $8000 in Onondaga. NY the land of taxes

    Rich R I know allot of teachers & police they don’t make near that. Maybe in NYC.Yes we are a welfare state. BUT we in upstate DO NOT VOTE THE BUMS IN, THEY GET VOTED IN BY NYC!! Even our energy windmills are up for ONLY NYC! Like Lise says we have family & jobs here. Now we have a place in Fl. for winters, but taxes are $2200 because we’re not homesteaded! taxes, taxes everywhere.

  • David

    Maybe they should reduce their school budget.

  • mike

    Union my ass this is one of the reasons we are in this mess paying non educated individuals far more than they are worth

  • Aaron Yeary

    Liberals do not start wars and run up the deficit as a result.

  • Laura BIZEFSKI

    Dude. Easy on the elderly. And my dad is 82 and I’m 38,are you going to be rude to us, too because we didn’t know where we were moving?

  • Lise Genz

    Well said : I will add this : we are living in a charming little town, only 40,000 inhabitants, not rich at all, even poor, a big % on welfare. Once, Schenectady was rich because GE, but no longer. Houses are nice if you like old homes ; , people are nice and friendly – I was living in Minnesota for many years, and I prefer NY. We are living a good life, but we have to struggle to pay the %$#@ !!! property taxes. Mar, you’re right, we are not responsible for the votes.

  • Russ

    Moving is not always that easy of a decision. Families have ties and roots. Taxes are only one part of a consideration to bug out and oftentimes not the most important even if they are steep.

  • SunshineSunshineSunshine

    Exceptions do exist, but how many? It’s not a tax, it is a government’s rent. Don’t pay it and you will soon find out who is the real owner.

  • Russ

    Ah but certainly those low tax rates could not have possibly contributed to Orange County having gone bankrupt could they?

  • SunshineSunshineSunshine

    Can you live out west without worrying that one day a cougar will get you in your own yard, or a tax man.

  • Robert Gebler

    The states with the best welfare system have the most leaches sucking money out of the system also have the highest property, sales and personal TAX.

  • stp479

    Good luck Richard-NY will file for bankruptcy within 7 years and will follow the model fashioned in Detroit-plan for greatly reduced benefits.

  • Stephen Lonefeather

    Although some poor do milk the system, sometimes those you think are poor are actually comfortable not being part of the capitalist dog eat dog world that demands everybody make as much money as possible by hook or by crook. They don’t need to dress to the nines, their homes are old and simple, but neat. They work min. wage jobs – if they can find one, and they keep a nice house and yard and are cordial to their neighbors…. and they don’t mind doing volunteer work. Sometimes we are forced into making our lives work the best we can while being thankful for what we are given. It’s a nice lifestyle once you get used to it, especially in this economy when we have to look so deep to find heart of America through all the hypertension.

  • Stephen Lonefeather

    If you notice its the non liberal states that pay the lowest wages.

  • clemdane

    True. Arkansas and Oklahoma are sparkling centers of education, culture and high quality living, and they do it all on a tiny tax budget. Can’t think why I haven’t moved there…

  • clemdane

    That’s great…for people who bought in the first five years after Prop 13. But why would anyone move there now?

  • clemdane

    Those areas are nice, but they’re not worth those taxes.

  • clemdane

    New York is filthy rich and will not file for bankruptcy any time soon. They just take all the money from the rich people and give it to the poor, but there seem to always be more rich people who apparently want to finance this scheme, so I wouldn’t expect them to run out of money.

  • clemdane

    The New York counties mentioned above are very beautiful and have some of the best public schools in the world. I still wouldn’t live there and pay that kind of tax, but it’s not for nothing.

    The only way to get low taxes in L.A., is if you bought 30 years ago.

  • heideleena

    Funding for education has SKYROCKETED since the 70’s and test scores have plummeted. They do not need more money, trust me.

  • clemdane

    What I conclude from this is: move to Maui!

  • clemdane

    As long as I am not paying to support you I am happy that you are choosing whatever lifestyle you want.

  • heideleena

    In 1964, it was LBJ who was President when the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was signed by congress (authorizing increase in troops)

  • Stephen Lonefeather

    Thank you. Same to you.

  • heideleena

    The CBO came out with a report that due to the ACA (obamacare) the deficit will climb back up in 2016, hitting some $1 trillion by 2022. By 2024, the federal government will add $10 trillion to the national debt, putting the debt at over $27 trillion.

    Dems are notorious for spending, spending, spending and increasing the government (which costs money).

  • Johnco

    I agree with most of your post ocean, but I don’t see anywhere that she mentioned she voted for the tax and spend group. Maybe she is one of the innocent ones although I would have never stayed there maybe they did because of work, family or many other reasons. Anyway, for a house that is not worth that much she needs to move if she can’t afford the 6K.

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