Let’s Talk about Connecticut, Baby

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My husband and I never looked at houses in Connecticut. Why? A combination of proximity to NYC and, I guess, the (mostly) irrational fear of what it would mean to leave New York. But I now have two sets of friends who have left Dobbs Ferry for the Constitution State. Why? Taxes, baby. Taxes.

In Dobbs Ferry, and most of Westchester, you can expect to pay somewhere around $30,000/year in property taxes for an $800,000 house of approximately 3,500 sq. ft. In comparably desirable areas of Connecticut, like Darien, New Canaan, and Greenwich, you can expect to pay more like $7,000. That means you can afford more for less in Connecticut.

Why are the taxes so much in Westchester?? I’m no tax expert, but for the little I understand about it, there are a few reasons: many of the towns in Westchester don’t have a lot of commercial taxpayers paying the big taxes. For example, in Dobbs Ferry alone, Walgreens and Stop & Shop are two of the few big businesses in town. That means the property owners have to pick up the slack. It’s possible that Connecticut towns have more commercial taxpayers to alleviate a lot of the responsibility from the residential taxpayers. Secondly, a lot of the villages in Westchester have their own mini governments, fire departments, police departments, school districts, etc. That means little Dobbs Ferry has to pay for all of that on its own. And for whatever this means, 70% of our property taxes are for the school tax. Does that mean our schools are better? Or that there are more school-aged children in Dobbs than in Greenwich? I don’t know. But our schools are awesome. 😉  And Westchester spends more per student than towns in Connecticut…

So why look at Westchester at all if you can save so much on property taxes in Connecticut? Is it the distance? The average on-peak train ride from Greenwich (one of the closest towns in CT to NYC) to Grand Central is 52minutes, whereas the same ride from Hastings-on-Hudson (one of the closest towns in NY to NYC) is 40minutes. Hmm. 12 minutes seems worth saving thousands of dollars every year, does it not?

Hopefully, I’ll be able to do some Connecticut research for my little blog sometime soon. Until then, happy hunting!

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3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk about Connecticut, Baby

  1. I have so many questions. Can one really find a 3500-sq-ft house for only $800k where you are??? We are in the market for a house of said value and we are turning up absolute dumps here – SMALL dumps, too.

    Also: are your property taxes seriously $30k/yr on a house like that?!? Wow. Wow. That is so so high. And yet: you have great schools. Here in the Golden State, we like to pat our own backs about the “high quality of public education” while simultaneously celebrating Prop 13. And then we watch all of four kids go to Stanford from our finest high schools populated by thousands of students. Ya can’t have it both ways, sucka.

    Lastly: I love this blog. I can imagine it being a great help to anyone looking to make the very difficult decision of where to live after leaving the city.

    • Thanks for reading! First, unfortunately, the $800K 3,500 sq ft house I was referring to needed A LOT of work. So really, no. You’d probably normally need $1M to buy a house of that size in great condition.

      And yes, property taxes on that very house I was referring to are $30K/year. Not good. Most of that goes to school taxes. Westchester County has the highest taxes in the country, but I don’t think our schools are any better than the ones in Connecticut. So I guess we’re just paying for proximity to the city.

      Speaking of loving blogs, I love yours. 🙂

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