As real estate climbs property taxes likely follow

Boston 25 Gets Real about housing

BOSTON — We’ve all seen the hot real estate market as prices soar but what’s also climbing, property tax.

“It’s astonishing,” said Jim McGlane of Medfield.

McGlane has lived in Medfield for nearly 15 years and he says property taxes keep on climbing.

“It seems to you know …creep up every year,” he said.

McGlane is not alone. In nearby Westwood, Donna Ferragamo is fed up.

“My taxes have gone up incredibly just in the past year,” said Ferragamo.

Homeowners in Massachusetts face some of the largest annual property tax bills of any state in the country. The median annual property tax payment in the state is $4,899. The state’s average effective tax rate of 1.17% is higher than the national average, according to SmartAsset.

The state requires an assessment every year.

“Properties in Massachusetts do get re-assessed every year,” said Keren Horn who is an Associate Economics Professor at UMass Boston.

And she says lifelong residents will really feel that pinch.

“People who will be surprised or already may have been surprised are the long-term homeowners,” said Horn.

As home prices continue to climb plenty of people are concerned property taxes could soon follow. We asked how long it could take before some people are priced out of their own neighborhoods.

“We are getting priced out. I mean I have to think about moving in the next couple of years,” said Ferragamo.

So, what can residents do?

“Most towns have exemptions for people on fixed incomes,” said Horn.

That’s something to check on in your town. The city of Everett saw this and actually lowered its property tax rate to retain residents.

“They’re very aware that people are struggling they can’t make their payments… so what do they do? They responded by reducing their property tax rate,” said Horn.

But Horn says property tax is something most towns may not want to tinker with and that leaves people like Ferragamo with little choice but to move.

“I’m going to have to do what I have to do. I don’t have a choice. Or I’m going to be working for the rest of my life just to have my house,” said Ferragamo