The effective property tax rate for single-family homes in Colorado last year averaged 0.52 percent versus the 1.15 percent rate averaged nationally, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, which looked at property taxes on more than 84 million single-family homes in 586 U.S. counties.
Nationally, single-family homeowners paid an average of $3,296 in property taxes last year, while in Colorado they paid only $2,046. The tab was smaller here even though the average market value of a home, at $394,604, was $109,110 higher than the U.S. average of $285,495.
Colorado’s lower rates come with a price. When local governments and school districts don’t collect enough in property taxes, the state must back-fill from its coffers, leaving less money to go around for things like roads and higher education.
“This puts more pressure on the state budget,” said Chris Stiffler, an economist with the Colorado Fiscal Institute in Denver.
One reason Colorado ranks so low on property tax rates is the passage in 1982 of the Gallagher Amendment, which limits the share of the property tax base attributable to residential to 45 percent of the total.
Over the decades, Gallagher, in combination with other measures like the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, has pushed down Colorado’s residential property tax rates. But homeowners don’t necessarily realize or appreciate it, because rising home prices, primarily along the northern Front Range, have forced them to write bigger checks to their counties, Stiffler said.
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