HOUSING + HOMELESSNESS

Utah homeowners hit with high property taxes as home prices soar

Sep 5, 2023, 1:00 PM

an expanse of homes are pictured in north salt lake...

Homes are pictured in North Salt Lake on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY —  Home prices in Utah have skyrocketed over the last three years. High prices have caused homeowners to shoulder higher property taxes.

Why the increase?

There are two problems happening at the same time.

First, is the growing value of most of the homes in Utah. The Deseret News reported that the median price for home sales has jumped 365,ooo over the last decade. If property tax rates stay the same, that means a jump of 145%  in what residents pay.

The other problem is called tax shift. This means cities and towns will get the same number of property tax dollars no matter what happens in the market. When commercial tax revenue dips, homeowners have to pay more.

How is it affecting homeowners?

Cate Klundt from the Utah Association of Realtors said the hit is drastic for some Utahns.

“You have people who are in their homes who can subtly not afford to pay for their property taxes because they’ve gone up so much and it wasn’t something that they had planned on or even foreseen,” said Klundt.

According to Klundt, home sale data goes to city and county tax assessors. Commercial ones don’t, leaving assessors to guess.

“Sometimes those guesses are close to what it is but a lot of times they’re lowballing because they don’t want to be wrong and they don’t want to really overcharge,” said Klundt. 

Klundt, one solution could be requiring more information from those commercial sales and getting better estimates.

Lawmakers are looking at ways to increase the information assessors have on commercial property purchases so they can potentially lower the share homeowners pay.

“If the city gets $20 every year, they can get $12 from residential real estate and $8 and commercial real estate.  Or, like they can get $16 from residential real estate, and then they have to get $4 from commercial real estate,” Klundt said. 

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