Georgia winters are mild, and the scenery is diverse, featuring mountains, beaches and vast swaths of greenery. As of 2016, the state's economy is strong and its unemployment rate is low. The state is home to Atlanta, one of the most dynamic and cosmopolitan cities in the south. It is unsurprising, then, that Georgia continues to attract thousands of new residents every year. While real estate prices are climbing rapidly, particularly in the trendier enclaves of Atlanta, plenty of homes still exist in Georgia that are affordable for a middle-class or working-class family. When considering a home purchase in a new state, it helps to know how the state's property taxes compare to other places. Georgia ranks in the dead center out of the 50 states, coming in at 25th.

Georgia Property Tax Basics

Georgia levies taxes at the state, county and municipal levels. State taxes in Georgia represent a minuscule component of a homeowner's tax bill. Most taxes come from the counties and cities, which use this revenue to fund city services, in particular public schools. A 2014 study by Students First ranked Georgia's public schools as the 14th-best in the nation.

Average Property Taxes in Georgia

Property tax rates in Georgia can vary significantly from county to county, and even within a single county based on school system and municipality. The statewide average effective property tax rate is 0.96%. The owner of a $200,000 home in Georgia owes, on average, $1,920 in annual property taxes.

Homeowners in the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area (MSA) pay some of the highest property taxes in the state. Not only are tax rates higher than average in most of the counties comprising the Atlanta MSA, but since property values also tend to be higher, owing to the area's high demand, residents end up paying the most property taxes in the state in dollar terms.

Residents of the state's largest county, Fulton County, which includes a big portion of Atlanta proper and several of its upscale suburbs such as Alpharetta and Roswell, pay the highest dollar amount in property taxes. The average effective tax rate in Fulton County, at 1.16%, ranks well above the state average, though it is not the highest in the state.

Gwinnett County, also in the Atlanta MSA and home to the cities of Lilburn and Lawrenceville, features an average property tax rate of 1.27%, which ranks among the state's highest.

How Georgia Compares to National Averages

Georgia's average effective property tax rate ranks 25th out of 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. Its rate comes in at just under 1% of a home's market value. A total of 24 states plus the District of Columbia have average effective tax rates under 1%, while the remaining 26 states have rates above 1%. Hawaii boasts the lowest average rate at 0.28%, though real estate on the island is the nation's most expensive. New Jersey residents pay the highest average effective rate at 2.29%

How Georgia Compares to Its Neighbors

Regionally, Georgia's property taxes rank on the high end. Of the five states that border Georgia, only Florida's residents pay a higher average effective rate. Residents of South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama enjoy lower property taxes on average than their neighbors in Georgia.

Key Takeaways

Property taxes in Georgia are neither low nor high. With real estate prices in the state varying from very low for homes in the state's more rural reaches to very high in many of Atlanta's most desirable communities, new residents could end up paying a little to a lot on their annual property tax bill. Simply put, the state is average. While few people add Georgia to their relocation shortlist exclusively because of low property tax rates, residents moving from places such as New Jersey can enjoy a substantial discount compared to what they paid in their previous home state. At the same time, property tax rates should not keep anyone from considering this diverse, vibrant and economically strong state as a future home.

Florida Property Tax Guide

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