Washington Co. has highest 2017 regional property tax, Johnson Co. has lowest


Total property taxes levied on single-family homes in the Tri-Cities region of Northeast Tennessee increased 7.3% in 2017 compared to 6% nationwide and 5% in Tennessee. Drilling down to average increases by county shows all were up, but there were standouts.

Washington County had the highest average property tax in the region and the 11th highest in Tennessee while Johnson County had the lowest average in the region and had the 11th lowest average in Tennessee. And none of the locals were anywhere close to the U.S. average.

Another standout was the effective property tax rates in Carter County decreased from its 2016 level even though the average property tax increased. The effective rate in the other local counties increased, and Washington County’s year-over-year increase was higher than the state, U.S., and other locals.

That broad brush look at property taxes comes from ATTON Data Solution’s 2017 property tax analysis. It shows that taxes on single-family homes totaled $293.4 billion in 2016. The Tri-Cities regional total was $176.3 million, up from $164.5 million in 2016. ATTOM’s report analyzed property tax data collected from county tax accessors nationwide at the state, metro and county levels. The effective tax rate was the average annual property tax expressed as a percentage of the average estimated value of a home in each area. Full comparative data for Unicoi County was not included in the report’s data sheet, but last year’s base information can be found on ATTOM’s heat map which is part of the national report.

Looking at the local effective tax rates in this report’s chart and comparing it with ATTOM’s list of state with the highest property taxes should give local property owners pause if they tend to grouse about what they have to pay. States with the highest effective property rates were:

  • Pennsylvania – 2.02%
  • Connecticut – 1.99%
  • New York – 1.92%
  • Ohio – 1.72%
  • Wisconsin – 67%

Property tax rates did increase faster than the national rate Washington, Sullivan, and  Greene counties but trailed the national and state average increase in the rest of the local counties. The year-over-year change in the effective tax rate in Washington, Sullivan and Johnson counties was higher than the U.S. and state change and lower in all other local counties except Carter where it declined.

Looking at the data from a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) level, The Tri-Cities metro areas had the highest effective property tax rates in the NE Tennessee region. The Morristown MSA was not included in the report.  In 2016 the effective tax rate in all three of the local metro areas was 0.54%. Last year it was:

  • Johnson City, 0.60%
  • Kingsport-Bristol, 0.57%
  • Knoxville, 0.54%

The average property tax for the three metro areas compared to 2016 is:

  • Johnson City MSA, $932, up from $831.
  • Kingsport-Bristol, 833, up from $811.
  • Knoxville, $1,016, up from $1,010.

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