While  property tax rates are high in the Northeast region, Massachusetts property owners have some of the lowest tax rates on property in their area. With property tax rates relatively low, real estate is a highly sought-after investment in the state. 

Average Property Taxes in Massachusetts

The average tax rate in Massachusetts is 1.21%, ranking it 18th among all states. Middlesex County has the highest effective tax rate in the state, while Berkshire County has the lowest. Highly populated cities in Middlesex County include Lowell and Cambridge. Highly populated cities in Berkshire County include Otis and Richmond.

The value of a property is assessed by the local assessor. The local assessor determines the value of the property based upon designated market factors. Each city sets its tax laws, which include assessment and millage rates. In Massachusetts, most cities have 100% assessment ratios, which means that the full value of a property is taxable. Massachusetts uses millage rates, and 1 mill is equal to 1/1,000, which means that a property valued at $200,000 with a millage rate of 10 requires a property tax of $2,000. Millage rates in Massachusetts vary from approximately 10 to 20 mills.

The 2016 data available on average effective tax rates shows Massachusetts as the seventh-ranked state by median annual property tax payments at $3,794 with an average tax rate in the state of 1.15%. Median home values in the state range from $197,900 to $929,700. The highest median annual tax payment is paid in Middlesex County at $4,725.

How Massachusetts Tax Compares to its Neighbors

Massachusetts has five neighboring states: New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Ranked 18th by the Tax Foundation, Massachusetts has the lowest average effective tax rate of states in its region at 1.21%. New Hampshire has the highest average effective tax rate in the region, ranked third at 2.15%. Connecticut is ranked fourth at 1.98%. Vermont is ranked ninth at 1.71%, Rhode Island is ranked 10th at 1.67% and New York is ranked 11th at 1.64%.

How Massachusetts Compares to the National Average

A survey from WalletHub in 2016 showed the national average effective property tax rate at 1.13%. The most current data shows the state average effective tax rate for Massachusetts above that, at 1.21%. The states ranking the highest in effective property tax rates include New Jersey and Illinois. New Jersey has an average effective property tax rate of 2.29%, and Illinois has an average effective property tax rate of 2.25%. The states with the lowest average effective tax rate are Hawaii and Alabama. Hawaii has an average effective property tax rate of 0.28%, and Alabama has an average effective property tax rate of 0.43%.

Overall, while Massachusetts property taxes range within the highest in the nation, they are among some of the lowest rates in the Northeastern United States. Property owners in Massachusetts should pay careful attention when planning for and paying their property taxes, since tax bills are due quarterly and most districts assess taxes based on the full value of an owner’s property.

New Hampshire Property Tax Guide

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