It is a sad fact that 11 of every 100 U.S. houses are empty. It is hard for folks to qualify for loans and many people are saddled with credit card debts that may be decades old. However, I am here to tell you that property taxes are a big part of the reason why homes are not selling and are why many folks are losing their homes. Property taxes have long been the cash cow used to fund schools and local governments, and they just will not quit milking the source.
Lake County not only has the highest taxes in the State of Illinois, we pay the highest taxes in all of the Midwest and rank #16 nationally (Forbes, 2010). The Lake County Board brags that their budget is balanced, but they do it on the backs of the homeowners by using unrealistic valuations. My 3-bedroom home is taxed on a market value of $330,000 (I pay over $9,000 property taxes a year, along with $400 for homeowner association dues), but a larger 4-bedroom home down the street is expected to go at auction for less than $150,000. No houses are selling for anywhere near the assessed value. We are being taxed out of our homes and all potential buyers are ever leery of the tax burden they will incur. Further still, many homeowner associations (ours included) have adopted “no rent” bylaws, which discourages investment purchases. If you are looking for a place to live, I cannot recommend Lake County, Illinois. I have been in this house for almost a dozen years and would never have bought if I knew the taxes would balloon to where they are.