BARNEGAT, NJ It’s not exactly a medal of honor for New Jersey to place at the bottom of some lists. According to Wallet Hub,  the Garden State ranked dead last when it came to real estate taxes in 2019.  Meanwhile, Hawaii’s median house value easily exceeds every other state at nearly $564K. Nonetheless, it’s first in the nation as far as the state with the lowest property taxes.

The data shows that Hawaii’s average real estate tax rate is .027%. Those lucky enough to find a $194K home will pay a whopping $525 in annual property taxes. Truth be told, the best that’s generally available for that price is approximately 700 square feet of condo space in Hilo, Hawaii.

In New Jersey, that same $194K house comes with an average of a $4.7K tax bill. That’s because the average real estate tax rate in New Jersey is 2.44%. Meanwhile, the state’s median home value is $321K.

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A shocker? Like other municipalities, it’s not one at all for Barnegat residents. As of July last year, the Ocean County Tax Board showed Barnegat residents as forking over 2.75% in local property taxes. Local taxes increased by less than a percent from the prior year.

Though Barnegat’s tax rate last year exceeded the state average, there’s something else to note. Of the 566 communities in New Jersey, Barnegat’s property tax bills typically fall in the bottom 30%. In 2018, 405 other municipalities surpassed Barnegat’s average of $6,519.

Meanwhile, that same year, the City of Elizabeth in Union County made it to the top of the list as far as tax rates.  Although average property values amounted to only $34,577, tax bills averaged $9,615.  Local property taxes in Elizabeth were 28.54% in 2018.

According to Township Committeeman Al Bille, Barnegat’s taxes are very competitive with towns such as Stafford.  “People from North Jersey that come down here are always amazed at our low taxes. They also like that we keep increases low.”

Property Tax Increases for Fiscal Year 2020

Local government authorities often speak about real estate property tax increases in terms of dollars and cents. In a report presented at Barnegat’s August Township Committee meeting, Committeeman Bille announced that property taxes would increase by an average of $23.41 per house per year.

The change in rate starts in the Third and Fourth Quarter of this year and goes into 2020.

“It’s lower than last year,” said Bille.  “In fact, once again, the rate increase is less than 1%, which is less than inflation.”

The Committeeman reminded residents that their tax bills also include charges associated with school and county taxes. These are separate and apart from local real estate property taxes.

Municipal taxes are used to provide services and equipment for the police and fire departments. Additionally, tax revenue funds personnel costs, including benefits and salary. The Township maintains and repairs roads and property with municipal taxes. Garbage and recycling charges also come from the municipal budget.

“Only 30% of property taxes go to the Township,” explained Bille.  “The remaining 70% goes to school or county taxes.”

In 2019, Barnegat property owners were billed $1.39 per $100 of assessed valuation for school taxes.  As far as Bille knows, there are no anticipated tax increases related to education costs in the upcoming year.

Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing and resume service. Feel free to contact her at