When some people decide if they can afford a home, they simply consider the overall purchase price of the house and the monthly mortgage payment. Unfortunately, they may not consider two other expensive components of home ownership—the cost of repairs and maintenance and the annual property tax. Generally, homeowners should set aside two to four percent of the home’s value for repairs and maintenance. In addition, before purchasing a home in Michigan or any other state, they should know how much the property taxes are. For your bottom line, consider living in one of the cities with the lowest property taxes in Michigan.
General Information about Michigan Property Taxes
In Michigan, property tax rates are determined at the county level. In addition, Michigan has an effective property tax rate for owner-occupied homes, called the homestead rate. However, those who own second homes will pay a higher property tax on that additional home.
Low Property Tax Rates Don’t Necessarily Mean Lowest Taxes
A resident of a county with a low property tax rate may pay higher taxes than a resident with a higher property tax rate because his house may have a higher value. The higher the value of the home, the more you are likely to pay in property taxes.
Cities with the Lowest Property Taxes in Michigan
According to Property Tax 101, the county with the lowest property taxes in Michigan is Leelanau County where property taxes are only 0.83 percent of a home’s value.
However, Leelanau County is a beautiful tourist area in the upper part of the Lower Peninsula bordering Lake Michigan, so most homes are expensive. Therefore, this translates to more expensive property taxes than in other parts of the state even though the percentage of taxes paid based on the home’s value is lower than in other counties in the state.
Some cities in Leelanau County include:
- Glen Arbor,
- Lake Leelanau,
- Maple City,
- Sutton’s Bay
The county with the second-lowest property taxes in Michigan is Alcona County, which is also in the upper Lower Peninsula, on the opposite side of Leelanau County, and borders Lake Huron.
Cities in the county of Alcona include:
- Barton City,
- Black River,
Rounding out the top three counties with the lowest property tax rates in the state is Luce County, which is in the Upper Peninsula and borders Lake Superior. Because homes are more affordable in this area, Luce County also has the lowest median property tax in the state.
Cites in Luce County include:
Cities with the Highest Property Taxes in Michigan
The area of Michigan that you live in partly determines how affordable property taxes are. Property taxes are higher on the east side of the state, including Detroit and surrounding areas.
Therefore, the highest effective property taxes in Michigan can be found in Wayne County, home to Detroit. Property taxes are 2.07% of a home’s value. Some of the cities in Wayne County include:
- Dearborn Heights,
- Grosse Pointe,
- Harper Woods,
The county with the second-highest effective property tax rate is Ingham County, which houses the state capitol of Lansing. Ingham County’s tax rate is slightly lower than Wayne County’s, coming in at 1.97 percent.
Cities in Ingham County include:
- East Lansing,
Finally, Washtenaw County rounds out the top three Michigan counties with the highest effective property tax rate. Washtenaw County is home to the city of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan and has a 1.81 percent effective property tax rate.
Cities within Washtenaw County include:
- Ann Arbor,
- Whitmore Lake,
Property Tax Rates in Other Michigan Counties
Besides the counties already mentioned, Michigan has many counties that fall in between with effective property tax rates between 0.86 percent and 1.75 percent.
Top 10 Michigan Counties with the Lowest Property Tax
Rounding out the ten counties with the lowest effective property tax rate are:
- Benzie County—0.86 percent
- Montmorency County—0.88 percent
- Oscoda County—0.90 percent
- Cheboygan County—0.90 percent
- Antrim County—0.95 percent
- Mackinac County—0.97 percent
- Ogemaw County—1.00 percent
Top 10 Michigan Counties with the Highest Property Tax
Rounding out the ten counties with the highest effective property tax rate are:
- Kalamazoo County—1.61 percent
- Calhoun County—1.63 percent
- Bay County—1.63 percent
- Dickinson County—1.64 percent
- Genesee County—1.65 percent
- Macomb County—1.74 percent
- Oakland County—1.75 percent
Ways to Reduce Your Property Tax
If you feel your property taxes are too high, you can appeal. This process requires you to make your case before the Board of Reviews.
If you can’t afford your property taxes, you may qualify for one of these situations, which may drop your total property tax:
Michigan Circuit Breaker Laws
If you pay more than 3.5 percent of your income on property taxes, you may be able to get a refund of the difference on your income taxes. However, you will need to fill out Homestead Credit Form 1040CR.
Disabled Veterans Exemption
Under a law passed in 2013, a disabled veteran who was honorably discharged from the military is exempt from property taxes. To qualify, the veteran must live in the property as his or her primary residence and file an affidavit proving that he or she meets all of the requirements.
If the disabled veteran dies and his or her spouse remains unmarried, that spouse is not obligated to pay property taxes until he or she remarries.
Michigan is a scenic state that is gorgeous in the summertime. In addition, the state offers abundant outdoor recreation activities. While the winters are cold and snowy, residents can still find plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. If you’d like to live in the state, remember when buying a home to also consider the property tax rates in the area where you would like to live. Generally, counties in the upper portions of the state have lower property tax rates. Those counties including and surrounding larger cities like Detroit and Lansing will have the highest effective property tax rates.
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Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in Arizona where she dislikes the summer heat but loves the natural beauty of the area.