With home prices skyrocketing by double-digit percentages over the last year, it would be no surprise if property taxes jumped too.

But surprisingly, the average property tax on a single-family home rose by just 1.8% last year to $3,785, increasing at the smallest pace in the past five years, according to a report from ATTOM, a real estate data company. That has resulted in an effective tax rate of 0.9%, down from 1.1% in 2020, the report found.

But this small silver lining in the housing market may not last long. Home prices may have risen so fast that taxes are still catching up, said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM.

“It’s hardly a surprise that property taxes increased in 2021, a year when home prices across the country rose by 16%,” Sharga said. “In fact, the real surprise is that the tax increases weren’t higher, which suggests that tax assessments are lagging behind rising property values, and will likely continue to go up in 2022.”

That means bigger jumps in property taxes could be coming in years ahead.

In 2021, effective tax rates – a measure of taxes relative to a home’s value – declined, even as total taxes rose because home values went up much more quickly than taxes did, the report found.

Home values spiked by more than 10% in many markets across the country. Property taxes that are still lagging behind these spikes in prices should be something for new buyers to keep in mind.

“Prospective homeowners often fail to include property taxes when considering the cost of homeownership,” Sharga said. “But, especially in some of the higher-priced markets across the country, property taxes can add thousands of dollars to annual ownership costs, and possibly be the difference between someone being able to afford a home or not.”

Who pays the highest property taxes

New Jersey’s average tax of $9,476 on a single-family-home was the highest in the country last year. It was about 10 times more than the average of $901 in West Virginia, which had the nation’s smallest average tax.

Other states with the biggest average tax bills were Connecticut at $7,464, Massachusetts at $6,777, New Hampshire at $6,698 and New York at $6,617.

Rounding out the bottom five were Alabama at $905, Arkansas at $1,195, Mississippi at $1,243 and Louisiana at $1,248.

Last year, the states with the highest effective tax rate – the average annual property tax as a percentage of the average estimated market value of homes in each area – were Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont and Pennsylvania.

At the city level, most of the highest taxes were paid by residents of Northeastern and Midwestern metro areas.

Looking at cities with more than 1 million people, Rochester, New York, had the highest effective tax rate of 2.22%, followed by Hartford, Connecticut; Chicago; Philadelphia and Cleveland.

Among places with the lowest effective rates were Honolulu; Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and Prescott, Arizona.

The report analyzed property tax data collected from county tax assessor offices nationwide, along with estimated market values of single-family homes determined using an automated valuation model.