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Articles for ‘Assessments’

2012 Du Page County Property Tax Rates

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 by Sari Levy

A few years back, I wrote an article on calculating property taxes in the various communities of Du Page county.  Thanks to the Du Page county clerk, the updated table below reflects property tax rates for Du Page county communities in 2012.  The towns are listed in order from those with the highest to lowest tax rate.  Oak Brook continues to have the lowest property tax rates (and some of the highest home values) in Du Page county.

It is certainly easier to think about property taxes in terms of % of purchase price.  Most townships will review an appeal of taxes with a recent purchase.  However, the appeal typically lasts only a year until the assessor determines the value according to their method.  Take a look at my previous post for the property tax formula in Du Page county.

1. Glendale Heights 11.4035
2. Hanover Park 10.9595
3. Bartlett 10.1029
4. West Chicago 10.0131
5. Bensenville 9.3340
6. Carol Stream 9.3051
7. Aurora 9.2872
8. Woodridge 9.1027
9. Bolingbrook 9.0120
10. Wayne 8.6775
11. Winfield 8.3995
12. Elk Grove Village 8.2982
13. Lombard 8.2547
14. Addison 8.1764
15. Glen Ellyn 7.8773
16. Villa Park 7.7659
17. Lisle 7.6868
18. Bloomingdale 7.6694
19. Itasca 7.5530
20. Wood Dale 7.4751
21. Roselle 7.4261
22. Warrenville 7.3779
23. Wheaton 7.3580
24. Elmhurst 6.9301
25. Naperville 6.7945
26. Darien 6.7155
27. Westmont 6.6881
28. Clarendon Hills 6.1747
29. Downers Grove 5.8730
30. Oak Brook Terrace 5.8489
31. Hinsdale 5.4654
32. Burr Ridge 5.0382
33. Willowbrook 4.8933
34. Oak Brook 3.5871

Comparing Assessments – Part III

Thursday, February 4th, 2010 by Gary Lucido

As part of my ongoing rant about the high condo assessments in Chicago I’d like to revisit a topic I covered a while ago – what is the appropriate tradeoff between price and assessments? In that previous post I got into some fairly esoteric finance details about discounted cash flows and perpetuities that may have made the decision process seem a bit unreal. However, in discussions with a current client, I came up with a more concrete analysis that looks at what the impact of different assessments might be for a typical buyer with a finite time horizon.

In the example below I look at a theoretical high income buyer facing a choice between two condos, with one condo having assessments that are $100/month higher than the other. Given that the buyer is only going to live there for 5 years, the question is how much more can the buyer spend on the condo with lower assessments and still have the same monthly expenses, if the mortgage rate is 5%. In addition, are there any other economic considerations?

Unit A Unit B
Price $ 500,000 $ 541,311
Mortgage Rate 5.00%
Monthly P&I $ 2,684 $ 2,906
5 Year Average Monthly Interest $ 2,006 $ 2,172
Tax Bracket 36%
Initial Assessment $ 600 $ 500
5 Year Average Assessment $ 637 $ 530
After Tax Annual Cost $ 23,047 $ 23,047
5 Year Appreciation @ 3% $ 79,637 $ 86,217
Appreciation Benefit $ 6,580

I factored in the buyer’s tax bracket because of the deductibility of mortgage interest. The impact of the deductibility is to make mortgages more attractive relative to assessments for high income buyers than for lower income buyers. I made a few simplifying assumptions as well: that assessments and the value of the condos would go up with the rate of inflation, assumed to be 3% per year and, that for purposes of this analysis, we could just look at an average of the monthly interest and assessments.

The conclusion is that you could spend an additional $41,000 on the condo with the lower assessments, have the same monthly after tax monthly expenses, and end up with an additional $6,580 of appreciation at the end of 5 years. In other words, think long and hard before signing up for a condo with high assessments.

Comparing Assessments – Part II

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 by Gary Lucido

Let’s assume that after adjusting for all the factors in my earlier post on comparing Chicago condos with different assessments you are still left with a choice between two condominiums that have different assessments. How do you then factor in that difference – especially if the condo with the lower assessments has a higher price?

Let’s start with a simple approach for making that comparison, based upon an example where the difference in assessments is $100/month and your mortgage interest rate is 5%. In that case the extra $1200/year in assessments is approximately equal to the interest you would pay on an additional $24,000 purchase price ($1200/.05). In other words, for the same monthly outlay you could afford a $24,000 more expensive home or buying the home with a $100/month assessment is equivalent to spending an additional $24,000 on a home. In fact, most buyers intuitively take this into account by looking at their total monthly outlay in terms of mortgage, taxes, and assessments.

That’s the basic concept. It gets more complicated (doesn’t it always?)

First, there’s the tax benefit of a mortgage. If your marginal tax rate is 25% then the after tax cost of mortgage interest is really 3.75%. So that $100/month is really equivalent to paying an extra $32,000.

But I’m not done. It gets even more complicated. Really complicated on this round. In fact, it gets downright scary. Let’s say you believe that your assessments are going to go up because of inflation – maybe 3% per year on average. Wellllllll….now that’s equivalent to paying an extra $160,000 (1200/(.0375 – .03)!

OK. You’re not going to believe that and, while it’s accurate, it’s not totally correct so I better explain. The formula I used above is for what’s called a perpetuity. In other words, it assumes you are going to live there forever. Of course, that’s not true. In fact, you will either die (sorry, but it’s true unless you are a teenager in which case you believe you are immortal) or move before perpetuity comes. So what you really need to do is factor in the increases that will occur while you are living there using a technique called discounted cash flow, which is too complicated for me to get into right now but, in a simplified form, it’s actually the basis for all the formulas I’ve been kicking around here. Basically, it averages out the increases you are likely to experience while living in this place and it comes up with a number far closer to $32,000 than $160,000.

But here’s the point: an extra $100/month really adds up over time and the longer you live there the more of a burden it’s going to become. So think twice about buying a place with a higher assessment unless it’s a lot cheaper.

Comparing Assessments

Monday, October 12th, 2009 by Gary Lucido

When shopping for a condo or a townhouse in Chicago buyers are often confronted with comparing units that have assessments that are significantly different. So how do you make this comparison?

First, the simple part which almost everyone intuitively knows. Check to see if heating and/or air conditioning is included in both. If not, then estimate the value of this and subtract it from the assessments that include this. Now you have the equivalent cost of the assessments as if there were no heating and air conditioning.

Second, are there amenities included in one that are not included in the other – e.g. fitness center, pool, etc…? If so, you could impute the value of that amenity to you and subtract it from the assessments. Some people place no value on a doorman but it’s possible that a really good fitness center would allow you to cancel your $100/month health club membership.

The third piece is a bit more complicated and is really only practical for people familiar with reading financial statements. You have to figure out how much of the assessment is going towards operating expenses vs. building reserves. Let me explain. Suppose you have two identical buildings with identical expenses but different assessments. How could that be? Well, the building with the higher assessments has decided to build up their reserves. They’re really not spending the money but they are saving it for a rainy day (when the roof starts leaking). The other building will have to impose a special assessment, so, in the long run, the cost of living in the two buildings is exactly the same. Therefore, when comparing the two assessments you should subtract out that portion of assessment that is going towards building the reserves. If you don’t know how to determine this you could always ask your realtor (good luck with that one).

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