In today’s market, buyers are choosing to be conservative as they decide what to spend on their next home. However, buyers often forget to consider the impact that taxes can have on their final costs.
I’ve often been asked by buyers how much their taxes will be for a particular home. Unfortunately, determining how much the taxes will be for any given property in St. Louis County is a hard question to answer. Your taxes will depend on a number of factors including:
- library districts (there are 7)
- sewer districts (there are 25)
- fire districts (there are 24)
The two biggest factors affecting your total tax bill are the school district and municipality.
St. Louis County has 24 school districts, and the tax rates vary dramatically.
School District taxes rank order (high to low):
- Riverview Gardens
- Webster Groves
- Meramec Valley
- Valley Park
- Hancock Place
- University City
- Maplewood – Richmond Heights
*** all taxes reported in this article are based on 2007 tax rates
Plus, there are 78 municipalities that have a city tax. If you want to live where the municipality doesn’t charge you an additional tax, you might consider living in unincorporated St. Louis County or one of these 13 municipalities that have no additional city taxes:
- Bella Villa
- Des Peres
- Green Park
- Maryland Heights
- Moline Acres
- Norwood Court
- Town & Country
- Wilbur Park
Do the different tax rates really make a difference on the final tax bill?
The answer is YES.
Let’s look at a real world example. Over the years I’ve worked with a number of buyers that are interested in living in either Kirkwood or Webster Groves. The taxes for both the school district and municipality are higher in Webster Groves than in Kirkwood. But, what do you do if you really want your kids to attend Webster Groves schools or just can’t find a house you like in Kirkwood. You could opt for one of the municipalities in the WG school district with lower city taxes (Rock Hill or Warson Woods).
Municipal and school taxes per $100 assessed:
- City of Kirkwood & Kirkwood school district = 4.64
- City of Webster Groves & Webster Groves school district = 5.37
- City of Warson Woods & Webster Groves school district = 4.90
If you bought a home and it was assessed at $200,000, your tax would be:
Kirkwood – $1,763.20
Webster Groves – $2040.60
Warson Woods – $1,862.00
As the price goes up, the gap between these areas becomes even bigger.
****The tax listed above is for just the city and school district taxes, and does not represent the total tax bill.
I’m not telling you to avoid buying a home in Webster Groves, or any of the other high tax areas in town. I just want to make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into when you decide to make an offer on a property.
For the complete St. Louis County tax rates, click here (give it a minute to open…it’s a big file).