Yes, it’s true — in every one of the thirteen cities/towns I researched, the residential property tax rates went down this year, and residential exemptions went up.
But before you get too excited about a lower tax bill, note that one of the biggest reasons the rates went down is because the assessed values went up, reflecting the recent strength of our local real estate markets. In those cases, it may be a wash or you may even see an increase in your tax bill. However, some cities (Cambridge and Somerville for sure) are also benefitting from the increased strength of their commercial tax base, which effectively subsidizes residential taxes, and that’s all good 🙂
And in case you’re wondering how your city’s tax rate compares to that of its neighbors, I’ve put together a handy reference, which includes residential exemptions where applicable. Speaking of which, if you bought in Cambridge last year, don’t forget to file for your residential exemption by January 20! Somerville buyers, your applications don’t come out til July, so just mark your calendars for now.
One final thing… and I will probably update this with 2016 numbers, but for now, here’s a link to a post I wrote last year about how property taxes affect your buying power, using a comparison of Cambridge and Somerville’s taxes.