Lowest Property Taxes in Delaware

If you’re looking to move to a new state, then you’ll want to take many different things into consideration. One of those things, surely, is cost of living. Of course, there are lots of factors within that as well as external to that which will come into play. However, you can start with basic things like property taxes. Delaware has low property taxes,  making it an appealing place to move. Within the state, you might look for the cities with the lowest property taxes in Delaware.

Delaware Among Lowest US Property Taxes

As a whole, the state of Delaware has low property taxes. The state consistently ranks as the sixth or seventh lowest property tax rates of all fifty states. Tax-Rates.org explains that this ranking is for property taxes as relevant to percentage of median income. Looking directly at median property tax rates from state to state, Delaware still ranks among the top 13 lowest in the nation.

People who are seeking to move to a new place often take this into consideration. If you’re looking at places to retire, this aspect of Delaware is appealing. Similarly, if you’re seeking to purchase a second home or otherwise invest in real estate, Delaware’s low property taxes could be one consideration for that purchase.

Delaware County Property Taxes

Being from the state of California, I had to do a double take when I realized that there are only three counties in all of Delaware. This is a small state. When looking at property taxes by county, they average about .42% of the property’s fair market value. This rate is a little bit higher in New Castle County. It’s about .55% of median home value. Sussex County has the lowest property taxes in Delaware at about .27% of median home value. The average annual tax rate then is between $662 in Sussex County and $1385 in New Castle County. Kent County is somewhere in the middle.

How Property Taxes Are Assessed In Delaware

Smart Asset explains that Delaware calculates property taxes uniquely from many other states. In most states, local governments assess properties on a regular basis. However, in Delaware, they base their taxes on a year when all property was reassessed. Called, not surprisingly, the reassessment year, it differs from county to county. This ranges from Sussex County’s 1974 assessments to Kent County’s reassessment in 1987.

Local municipalities and cities can use the county’s assessment value or do their own assessments. Obviously, this decision greatly affects the rates. After all, Kent Count’s assessed values are equal to 60% of the 1987 market value of the property. This could differ significantly for properties reassessed in more recent times. Therefore, various cities within the county can have quite different tax rates. For example, in Wilmington, the tax rate is $1.995 per $100 of the assessed property value.

Cities With The Lowest Property Taxes in Delaware

A 2016-2017 report from the Delaware Economic Development Office breaks down property taxes by county as well as by city. This includes both incorporated and unincorporated areas for all counties. This is a good place to start when trying to find the cities or areas with the lowest property taxes in Delaware.

For each area, it shows the county rate, school rate, city rate, library rate, vo-tech rate, and total tax rate per $100 assessment. Therefore, we want to look at the city rate as well as the total tax rate per $100 assessment to figure out which cities have the lowest property taxes in Delaware.

Lowest Property Taxes in Kent County

Kent County, assessed in 1987, charges $0.300 at the county level. Of the 21 cities in this county, 15 have a rate lower than $0.999. The following cities have a lower rate than the county:

  • Farmington, $0.7500
  • Hartly, $0.0200
  • Houston, $0.1500
  • Kenton, $0.1200
  • Viola, $0.2000
  • Woodside, $0.2000

Therefore in terms of city property taxes, Hartley is by far the lowest. This is followed by Kenton and Houston, with the other three also offering good city rates.

Looking deeper at the total tax rate per $100 assessment, here are the four cities with the lowest property taxes in Kent County:

  • Viola, $2.1559
  • Woodside, $2.2464
  • Hartly, $2.3079
  • Kenton, $2.3688

As you can see, low city property tax rates play into the final equation. However, they don’t determine it outright. 

Lowest Property Taxes in New Castle County

New Castle County, assessed in 1983, shows a varying county tax rate depending upon the area. The county’s tax rate is $0.700, but varies depending on specific location. This ranges from $0.2436 in Newark and Wilmington to $0.7006 in Smyrna.

Going by city tax rates, the lowest property taxes in this part of Delaware are Arden, Ardencroft, and Ardentown, all of which do not charge a city tax. After that is the residential part of Odessa which is $0.2500, then the city of Smyrna which is $0.4000.

Looking at the total tax rate per $100 assessment, the cities with the lowest property taxes in this part of Delaware are:

  • Middletown, $2.5796
  • Smyrna, $2.6291
  • Residential Odessa, $2.6407
  • Townsend, $2.6483

Lowest Property Taxes in Sussex County

Finally, let’s take a look at Sussex, County. The county’s tax rate, based on a 1974 assessment, is $0.3983. This varies between locations. The ten cities in the Indian River district are the lowest at $2.578.

Looking at city tax rates, the lowest property taxes in Delaware in this county are:

  • Bethel, $0.004
  • Dewey Beach, $0.40
  • Milford, $0.46
  • Millsboro, $0.33
  • Rehoboth Beach, $0.04
  • Seaford, $0.31

Turning our attention to total tax rate per $100 assessment, the cities with the lowest property taxes in this part of Delaware are:

  • Ocean View, $3.5247
  • Bethany Beach, $3.5445
  • Millsboro, $3.6895
  • Millville, $3.8595

Lowest Total Tax Rate Per $100 Assessment

We can look at so many different factors to figure out the lowest property taxes in Delaware. If we look across the counties at the lowest total tax rate per $100 assessment, we find that the three most inexpensive counties are:

  1. Viola, $2.1559
  2. Woodside, $2.2464
  3. Hartly, $2.3079

That said, there are lots of other factors to take into consideration. It depends on the median home cost and how much you’re planning to spend on a home yourself. So, this is just a starting point. In comparison to the rest of the country, and in stark contrast to rates in the neighboring state of New Jersey, Delaware’s property taxes are low across the board.

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