Southern house with a white picket fence

Residents in states with the lowest median annual property tax totals pay the least amount to own a home. (Getty Images)

When buying a home, the major expenses most people think about are the down payment, monthly mortgage payments and the overall cost of upkeep.

Less-prominent costs that can be surprisingly prohibitive are the state and local property taxes levied on a residence annually. The first $10,000 of property taxes is deductible on your federal tax returns, but that’s only the case if you itemize your tax returns, which less than 14% of taxpayers do, according to tax policy nonprofit the Tax Foundation.

While property taxes vary based on the state, county and city where your property is located, many states throughout the U.S. levy little or no property taxes at the state level, and many local governments largely keep property taxes low as well. Out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, 10 have median total property tax payments that are less than $1,000 per year, based on data from tax information company Tax-Rates.org.

Some states have a median property tax rate that is very low – namely Hawaii, Delaware and the District of Columbia, which have median rates of 0.26%, 0.43% and 0.46%, respectively. However, because property values in those places are high, the total amount property owners pay in taxes is higher as well. For a better snapshot of where you’re likely to pay less money, we looked at the states with the lowest median annual property tax totals, rather than the tax rates.

Here are the states with the lowest median property taxes:

[See: The 25 Best Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. in 2019]

Median Property Tax Rate: 0.18%
Median Property Tax Total: $243
Median Home Value: $135,400

With a median property tax rate of just 0.18%, Louisiana has both the lowest property tax rates and the lowest median property tax amounts in the U.S. Louisiana residents pay a median of just $243 annually to cover their property tax bill. Many counties in the state, referred to as parishes in Louisiana, collect no property taxes at all. Others, including Orleans Parish and St. Tammany Parish, where New Orleans and Slidell are located, respectively, have median property tax totals over $1,000 due to higher local tax rates and higher median property values.

2. Alabama

Median Property Tax Rate: 0.33%
Median Property Tax Total: $398
Median Home Value: $119,600

3. West Virginia

Median Property Tax Rate: 0.49%
Median Property Tax Total: $464
Median Home Value: $94,500

West Virginia residents pay a median of $464 each year in property taxes. The costliest county in West Virginia is Jefferson County, which makes up the easternmost portion of the state that shares a border with both Maryland and Virginia. Property owners in Jefferson County pay a median of $1,379, though almost all other counties in the state have median property tax bills well below $1,000.

4. Mississippi

Median Property Tax Rate: 0.52%
Median Property Tax Total: $508
Median Home Value: $98,000

Mississippi residents pay a median of 0.52% of their property’s assessed value in taxes – about $508, considering the median property value for the state is $98,000, based on Tax-Rates.org information.

5. Arkansas

Median Property Tax Rate: 0.52%
Median Property Tax Total: $532
Median Home Value: $102,900

Arkansas residents see their property, which carries a median value of $102,900, taxed at a median rate of 0.52% across the state.

[See: 25 Great Small Towns to Live in the U.S.]

6. South Carolina

Median Property Tax Rate: 0.5%
Median Property Tax Total: $689
Median Home Value: $137,500

In South Carolina, if you’re living near Charleston, Columbia or Greenville – the largest cities in the state – you can expect to pay a higher tax bill either due to higher property tax rates or the likelihood that your home will carry a higher assessed value.

7. Oklahoma

Median Property Tax Rate: 0.74%
Median Property Tax Total: $796
Median Home Value: $107,700

Out of the 10 states with the lowest median property tax payment, Oklahoma has the highest tax rate at 0.74%. However, the low median property value for the state, $107,700, helps keep the median property tax payment at $796.

8. Kentucky


Median Property Tax Rate: 0.72%
Median Property Tax Total: $843
Median Home Value: $117,800

While the median annual property tax bill in Kentucky is low at $843, where you live in the state makes a big difference. Oldham County sits in the northwestern corner of the Louisville metro area, and the median property tax rate there is 0.96%, making the median property tax bill for the county a whopping $2,244.



9. New Mexico


Median Property Tax Rate: 0.55%
Median Property Tax Total: $880
Median Home Value: $160,900

With a median home value of $160,900, according to Tax-Rates.org data, New Mexico has the highest median value for properties of the 10 states on this list. Taxed at a median rate of 0.55%, the median annual property tax payment in New Mexico is $880. Though largely rural, this state has a couple of areas with relatively dense populations, including Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Additionally, at least part of eight counties throughout the state are Native American reservation land, which is not taxed.

[See: The 25 Most Desirable Places to Live in the U.S.]

10. Tennessee

Median Property Tax Rate: 0.68%
Median Property Tax Total: $933
Median Home Value: $137,300

Tennessee homeowners pay a median of $933 per year for property taxes, with a tax rate of 0.68%. Like most other states on this list, you can expect to pay a higher property tax bill if you live in a more densely populated part of the state.

Davidson County is home to Nashville, where the median property tax bill is $1,587 and the median tax rate is 0.96%. Nearby Williamson County levies a median property tax rate of 0.56%, but the high median home value of $335,800 means homeowners pay a median of $1,879 in property taxes.


The Best Places in the U.S. With the Highest and Lowest Sales Tax

Where do sales tax rates make the biggest difference?

A woman is paying at a coffee shop.  The cashier is a young man.  They are smiling at each other.

(Getty Images)

Whether you’re buying holiday gifts for family members, reviving your wardrobe or simply shopping at the grocery store, sales tax can make spending feel like it goes from reasonable to over budget with the ding of the cash register. Because sales tax varies by state, county and even municipality, where you shop can mean the difference between a couple cents and few dollars extra. Sales tax rates aren’t a part of the calculation for the U.S. News Best Places to Live rankings, but they can play a part in how to budget and plan for a move. We’ve compiled the 20 metro areas out of the 125 most populous in the U.S. that make up the Best Places to Live with the highest and lowest combined sales tax rates for regular, store-bought goods.

Markets with the highest sales tax

Markets with the highest sales tax

Woman signing payment terminal in grocery store

(Getty Images)

These metro areas often not only have a sizable state sales tax, but in each case they also have county and city taxes that increase the total of a retail purchase. We determined the places with the highest sales tax based on local taxes levied by the biggest city by population in each market, as that’s where the most residents are likely to spend their money. In outer suburbs, the local sales tax may be slightly higher or lower as a result of different municipal policies. All tax rates come from tax information company Avalara and its subsidiary TaxRates.com. The following places with high sales tax are listed from lowest to highest rate.

Highest: San Jose, California

Highest: San Jose, California

San Jose, USA - March 3, 2015: Downtown San Jose California, featuring the hotel DeAnza, Office towers, traffic light and Almaden Bl road sign. Photographed on a sunny day with clear blue sky. No traffic on the street.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 17
Metro Population: 1,943,107
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 9.25 percent

California collects just 6 percent sales tax for the state. But a 0.25 percent sales tax for both Santa Clara County and the city of San Jose plus a 2.75 percent special tax – which is often voted for by local residents to fund specific projects – add up to 9.25 percent.

Highest: Knoxville, Tennessee

Highest: Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 64
Metro Population: 857,111
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 9.25 percent

Knoxville doesn’t charge residents additional sales tax in the city, but Knox County levies a 2.25 percent sales tax in addition to Tennessee’s statewide 7 percent sales tax rate.

Highest: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Highest: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Sunrise, Tennessee Aquarium, Road Bridge, Chattanooga, Tennessee, America

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 72
Metro Population: 544,522
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 9.25 percent

Similar to Knoxville, Chattanooga’s high sales tax rate comes from the state tax of 7 percent and Hamilton County’s 2.25 percent tax rate.

Highest: Salinas, California

Highest: Salinas, California

Strawberry fields in the Salinas Valley of central California juxtapose with urban residential housing in the adjacent foothills.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 114
Metro Population: 430,201
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 9.25 percent

Salinas adds a combined 3.25 percent sales tax rate from Monterey County (0.25 percent), the city of Salinas (1.5 percent) and a special tax (1.5 percent) to California's state tax of 6 percent.

Highest: Memphis, Tennessee

Highest: Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, TN, USA - August 5, 2015: View of Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 117
Metro Population: 1,341,339
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 9.25 percent

Sales tax rates for Memphis are based on the state’s 7 percent tax combined with the 2.25 percent sales tax for Shelby County.

Highest: New Orleans

Highest: New Orleans

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 111
Metro Population: 1,250,247
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 9.45 percent

While Louisiana has a low state sales tax of just 4.45 percent, Jefferson Parish, where New Orleans is located, charges an additional 5 percent sales tax on purchases.

Highest: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Highest: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Baton Rogue at sunset

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 100
Metro Population: 824,667
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 9.45 percent

For Baton Rouge, on the other hand, the 5 percent sales tax to accompany the state’s 4.45 percent sales tax comes from the city.

Highest: St. Louis

Highest: St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 89
Metro Population: 2,803,449
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 9.679 percent

St. Louis charges a very specific sales tax rate – to the third decimal. The state of Missouri levies a 4.225 percent sales tax, and the city of St. Louis charges an additional 5.454 percent sales tax, which includes a 0.5 percent tax for public safety funding.

Highest: Fayetteville, Arkansas

Highest: Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 5
Metro Population: 503,642
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 9.75 percent

The state of Arkansas, Washington County and city of Fayetteville all levy a sales tax. Arkansas’s statewide tax tops out at 6.5 percent, while the county charges 1.25 percent and Fayetteville charges 2 percent in sales tax.

Highest: Mobile, Alabama

Highest: Mobile, Alabama

Downtown and Midtown aerial photos of Mobile, Alabama

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 122
Metro Population: 414,291
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 10 percent

Mobile is one of three places out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S. that charges 10 percent or more in sales tax. The state of Alabama charges just 4 percent in sales tax, while Mobile County collects an additional 1 percent and the city of Mobile takes 5 percent.

Highest: Seattle

Highest: Seattle

High dynamic image of Seattle skyline in dramatic sunrise colors across pier-66 waterfront

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 10
Metro Population: 3,671,095
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 10.1 percent

Washington’s state sales tax is 6.5 percent, while the city of Seattle places an additional 3.6 percent sales tax on top of that.

Highest: Chicago

Highest: Chicago

Chicago skyline

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 87
Metro Population: 9,528,396
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 10.25 percent

Illinois collects a sales tax rate of 6.25 percent, while Cook County adds 1.75 percent, the city of Chicago charges 1.25 percent and a special tax tacks on 1 percent to make sales tax in Chicago a whopping 10.25 percent.

Markets with the lowest sales tax

Markets with the lowest sales tax

Businessman holding money in his hands

(Getty Images)

While some places fund their local projects and improvement efforts with sales tax, others get rid of it entirely. As with the places with the highest sales tax rates, these rates are based on the combination of state, county and local sales tax rates in each metro area's largest city, so it’s possible the rate varies in smaller municipalities. The following eight metro areas are the only ones out of the 125 most populous in the U.S. that have combined sales tax rates of less than 6 percent, presented in descending order of sales tax rate.

Lowest: Milwaukee

Lowest: Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 70
Metro Population: 1,571,730
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 5.6 percent

Milwaukee is just a couple hours north of Chicago, but the sales tax rate is nearly half that of the Windy City. Wisconsin’s sales tax rate is 5 percent, while Milwaukee County charges 0.5 percent and a special tax adds 0.1 percent.

Lowest: Madison, Wisconsin

Lowest: Madison, Wisconsin

A vivid, photo taken from an airplane of downtown Madison, Wisconsin in spring.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 16
Metro Population: 634,269
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 5.5 percent

Without any special tax added to the sales tax rate, Madison has a slightly lower combined sales tax than Milwaukee, with just Wisconsin’s 5 percent sales tax and Dane County’s 0.5 percent sales tax.

Lowest: Portland, Maine

Lowest: Portland, Maine

Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine is one of the best Maine lighthouses

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 27
Metro Population: 523,874
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 5.5 percent

As the largest city in Maine, Portland maintains a low sales tax rate by keeping the rate determined by the state – 5.5 percent – without adding any local taxes.

Lowest: Richmond, Virginia

Lowest: Richmond, Virginia

USA, Virginia, Richmond, Cityscape at evening

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 54
Metro Population: 1,258,158
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 5.3 percent

Virginia’s sales tax of just 4.3 percent and the city of Richmond’s additional tax of 1 percent combine for a low sales tax rate of 5.3 percent for the state capital.

Lowest: Honolulu

Lowest: Honolulu

Sunrise at Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 35
Metro Population: 986,999
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 4.5 percent

Hawaii keeps its state sales tax low at just 4 percent. With the addition of Honolulu County’s 0.5 percent sales tax rate, the city of Honolulu sees a total sales tax rate of 4.5 percent.

Lowest: Manchester, New Hampshire

Lowest: Manchester, New Hampshire

Manchester is the largest city in the state of New Hampshire and the largest city in northern New England. Manchester is known for its industrial heritage, riverside mills, affordability, and arts & cultural destination.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 37
Metro Population: 404,948
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 0 percent

Manchester is one of three places out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S. that has no sales tax at all. New Hampshire is one of five states – the others being Alaska, Delaware, Montana and Oregon – with no sales tax.

Lowest: Salem, Oregon

Lowest: Salem, Oregon

Capitol Mall

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 93
Metro Population: 404,997
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 0 percent

There may be five states that levy no sales tax, but only two other places out of the 125 most populous metro areas keep the sales tax rate at zero for local taxes as well. Salem is one of two Oregon metro areas with no sales tax.

Lowest: Portland, Oregon

Lowest: Portland, Oregon

Portland, OR, USA - July 16, 2015: People ordering food from the multi-ethnic fast-food vendors in downtown Portland, Oregon

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 6
Metro Population: 2,351,319
Combined Local Sales Tax Rate: 0 percent

Portland is similar to Manchester and Salem in that there’s no sales tax, but it’s also significantly larger in population. The Portland metro area is home to nearly 2.4 million people and still manages to keep its sales tax at zero.

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Tags: real estate, taxes, property taxes


Devon Thorsby is the Real Estate editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she writes consumer-focused articles about the homebuying and selling process, home improvement, tenant rights and the state of the housing market.

She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.

Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at dthorsby@usnews.com.

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