See Who Pays the Highest (and Lowest) Property Taxes

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ShutterstockConsumers may pay little in real estate taxes but face higher sales or state income taxes. The flip side holds, too.
Another year, another top billing New Jersey homeowners would love to lose. The Garden State had the country's highest median real estate tax bill in 2013 at $7,331, according to recently released Census data.

The good news for New Jersey homeowners -- if you can call it that -- is last year's median bill increased just 2 percent from 2012, when it also topped the list. The state's high real estate taxes have long been fodder for politicians and late-night talk show hosts alike.

Alabama homeowners had the lowest median property tax bill ($532) in 2013. Nationally, the median tab was just under $2,100.

All but two of the top 10 costliest states are in the Northeast:
2013 chart of median real estate taxes

According to the 2013 American Community Survey, here's a look at the bottom 10:
bottom 10 states 2013 real estate taxes

To be sure, property taxes provide an interesting but incomplete picture of a homeowner's overall tax burden. Consumers may pay little in real estate taxes but face higher sales or state income taxes. The flip side holds, too. For example, Alaska homeowners had a median $3,008 tax bill last year, but residents pay no state income taxes.

Another way to look at property taxes is to consider them in the context of a home's value. Homeowners in the Northeast encounter a bigger tax bill, but the total might represent a relative fraction of the value of their home. The median sales price for existing homes in the Northeast was $237,200 last year, compared to $143,700 in the Midwest, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The National Association of Home Builders basically divides the two -- a state's aggregate real estate taxes and its aggregate home values -- to create a "statewide effective real estate tax." They went on to rank the states in terms of their effective rate for property taxes. The national effective rate last year was 1.13 percent, according to the NAHB.

Here's a look at the 10 states with the highest effective real estate tax rates:
highest effective real estate taxes

New Jersey homeowners still can't catch a break.

For good measure, here are the states with the lowest effective property tax rate, according to the National Association of Home Builders:

lowest effective property taxes

The NAHB analysis also takes a look at how big a role property taxes play in state and local tax receipts. You can get a look at the full breakdown here.
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