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NextGen Magazine


Study Finds Black Homeowners Pay 13 Percent Higher Property Taxes

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jul 2, 2020
A recent study by two economics professors found that, across the country, Black homeowners are consistently assessed at higher values, relative to the actual sale price of their homes, than white homeowners, which has led to them paying about 13 percent more in property taxes each year, according to the Washington Post. Economists at the University of Utah and Indiana University came to this conclusion after analyzing more than a decade of tax assessment and sales data for 118 million homes throughout the country. In every state they looked at (save California, which values properties in very different ways than the rest of the country), they found that property tax assessments were higher in areas that were predominantly Black and Hispanic regardless of buildings or land.

One factor is that Black homeowners are much less likely to appeal their property assessment. When they did try, they were less likely to win, and when they did win, their assessment reductions were smaller. Another is that Black-owned homes appreciate in value more slowly, but assessors tend to assume that they'll increase in value at the same rate as a house owned by a white household, which means that, over time, the assessed value of the home will outstrip its actual market value. Finally, there is also outright discrimination, the Post noting that there have been several historical instances where taxes have been used to retaliate against Black political action.

The Post said this can all have the effect of pushing Black families out of areas as part of the gentrification process, as well as overall discourage home ownership among them.