Episode: 3012 Newton, God, and Gravity. Today, we get pulled in.
Now that homeowners have experienced multiple tax cycles under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, many have been confronted with a reduced ability to write off state and local taxes, which means property tax rates have become a more visible part of buyers’ budgets. That’s why a recent article by WalletHub that ranks U.S. states and the District of Columbia in terms of their property tax rates is worth a close look, especially for real estate professionals in Houston.
Texas ranked as the state with the seventh highest property tax rates, with an effective real estate tax rate of 1.8 percent. The annual taxes collected on a $205,000 home (the median value for a home in the U.S.) were $3,703. Looking specifically at the state’s median home value of $161,700, Wallethub estimated that Texans would pay $2,922 in taxes on a home of this value. When compared to Alabama, the state with the second lowest property tax rate, owners of homes at the state median value ($137,200) were estimated to pay only $840 in annual taxes.
Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Wallethub estimated that “the average American household spends $2,375 on property taxes for their homes each year.”
Wallethub also asked a panel of “property-tax experts” about the importance of property tax rates and how they apply to different consumer groups. A key question for real estate professionals was whether people consider property taxes in the process of deciding where to move.
Of the three experts who answered this question, all agreed that property taxes are important to factor in while buying a home. Two respondents noted that, in the past, fewer buyers paid attention to property taxes, but with new tax laws in place at the federal level, many have had to adjust their budgets and be flexible during the homebuying process.
“Traditionally, property taxes were not an incredibly important consideration for people deciding to move from one location to another,” said Andrew D. Appleby, an assistant professor of law at the Stetson University College of Law. “After the TCJA, state and local taxes generally are often now an overriding consideration in the relocation decision.”
Paula R. Worthington, a senior lecturer and academic director at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, observed that “lots of empirical evidence suggests that people are willing to pay more for houses with low property taxes than for similar houses with higher property taxes, assuming the schools and other local public services are similar. So, house prices, property taxes and local public services are closely related.”
Also, real estate professionals should be ready to factor this into their budget conversations with first-time homebuyers.
Mitchell Franklin, an associate professor of accounting at the Madden School of Business at Le Moyne College, warned that “in a high tax state, it is not uncommon for monthly property taxes to be as much as a mortgage payment.”
Harris County Commissioners on Tuesday fired Bill Jackson as county budget officer.
The motion came from Democratic Commissioner Adrian Garcia, who argued Jackson had been less than transparent in how he ran the budget office. The vote was 3-2 along party lines.
Republican County Commissioners Steve Radack and Jack Cagle refused to participate in the executive session where Jackson’s fate was decided, and said the motion had come with no warning.
“We have this marvelous AAA rating because of our openness and transparency,” Cagle said. “I’m concerned that this is not the time to do anything like this. That it is not appropriate. And if we are going to do this, we need to give the public some time to see what we’re doing.”
Radack echoed Cagle’s comments, saying he thought Jackson was doing an outstanding job and noting that the county commissioners had just passed the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget by a vote of 5-0.
Jackson has been with the county for more than 30 years and had been county budget officer since 2011. He had planned to retire within two years.
On Tuesday, Jackson agreed to stay on temporarily until the county could select a replacement. Judge Lina Hidalgo offered to allow him to stay with the county in another capacity if a suitable position could be found.
The search for the 15-year-old boy, who was originally reported to be 14 years old, began after his sister was found hurt.
Houston police say the teen turned himself into juvenile probation late Monday night and will be charged with aggravated assault in the event that led to the injury of the 5-year-old girl
RELATED: Mom finds 5-year-old shot, 14-year-old boy flees with gun, HPD says
Houston police told ABC13 the incident happened in the 4600 block of W. 34th Street near Mangum.
Officers said a mother woke up after hearing a gunshot. The woman told police she ran into the living room and found her 5-year-old daughter had been shot.
The woman told Houston police the 15-year-old boy was panicking. She added that he picked up a gun and fled the apartment.
Even though the teen has been found, the gun used in the incident has not been recovered and it is still unknown who shot the young victim.
The video above is from a previous story.
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