Assessing the Influence of Property Tax Delinquency and Foreclosures on Residential Property Sales

Abstract
We examine the influence of property tax delinquency on the sale price of nearby homes from 2002 to 2013 using more than 46,000 residential property sales in a representative midwestern central city—Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After controlling for a number of property and neighborhood characteristics including nearby foreclosures, we find property tax delinquency has a significant influence on nearby home sales. The relationship is negative; one additional tax delinquent property within 250 m of a home sale is associated with a discounted sale price of 0.79% or approximately $1,085 on average. In addition, the influence of tax delinquent properties on home sale prices diminishes with distance, suggesting blight is the source of the discount. Based on these findings, the negative influence of tax delinquency is likely to be exacerbated in central cities where housing density is greater and delinquency is higher and more persistent than the surrounding suburbs, which has the potential to lead to fiscal distress as property taxes are the primary revenue source for cities. As such, we suggest a two-tiered approach for cities to mitigate the negative consequences of tax delinquency: a combination of policies to eliminate delinquency and also to help homeowners become financially stable.
Citation
Carroll, Deborah A. and Christopher B. Goodman. 2017. Assessing the Influence of Property Tax Delinquency and Foreclosures on Residential Property Sales. Urban Affairs Review 53 (5): 898-923.
doi:10.1177/1078087416678339