Silicon Valley’s high home prices aren’t the only thing prospective homebuyers there should worry about.
There are also the property taxes.
Homeowners in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara region of California had the highest rise in property taxes in the nation from 2007 to 2017, a median increase of $2,625, according to an analysis by ValuePenguin.
The personal finance website analyzed the median real estate taxes paid and home value in 283 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas to determine how property taxes have changed in that 10-year period.
Residents in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara region paid a median tax bill of $6,966.
The median home value there in 2017 was $957,700, ValuePenguin found.
The average U.S. property tax bill has gone up by $481 between 2007 and 2017, according to the analysis.
Kingston, New York, where residents saw their taxes go up by a median $1,573 from 2007 to 2017, was the place with second-highest increase in property levies. The median tax bill there was $5,499 in 2017.
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California, rounded out the top three, with a median property tax hike of $1,540 in that 10-year span. The median property tax bill there was $5,128 in 2017.
Property taxes are used to fund state and local governments, which then use the money on police departments, road maintenance and public schools.
“These account for very large amounts of your take-home pay,” said Maxime Croll, head of insurance at ValuePenguin. “You should understand and consider those property taxes before you buy your home.”
Sharply rising home values can help nudge levies upward in a given area.
For instance, skyrocketing prices on homes, plus an increase in demand, contributed to a dramatic jump in property taxes for some neighborhoods in Jersey City, New Jersey, last year.
It also didn’t help that the city hadn’t reassessed its homeowners in 30 years, failing to account for the rising home values in that period.
In one such neighborhood, the old average assessment was $212,700 and average property taxes of $16,591 in 2017, according to city records. The following year, the average assessment jumped to $1.79 million, while the average property tax bill climbed to $29,026.
Here’s something else that may boost your taxes: renovations.
Whether you’re converting your garage to a bedroom or you’ve decided to add a bathroom, you’ve made a change that will affect your home’s value. In turn, your property taxes may also go up.
Forget about hiding your renovation from the authorities. If you filed permits to do the work, your local tax assessor can pull those and drop by for a visit.
When you’re shopping for a home, bear in mind that the asking price only tells part of the story.
The PITI ratio — the amount you’ll pay toward principal, interest, taxes and insurance — provides a window into your ability to afford a home.
Lenders prefer that your PITI — or front-end ratio — take up no more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income.
You should also be aware that your property taxes provide you with less of a tax-planning boon under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
The overhaul of the tax code increased the 2018 standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers ($24,000 for married filing jointly), eliminated personal exemptions and curtailed itemized deductions, including a new $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction.
As a result, fewer people will be itemizing deductions on their taxes, and those with the largest property tax bills can only write off some of the amount.
“Property taxes are something every homeowner will face,” said Croll. “It’s important to understand how they work and that they are a recurring cost.”