How does your property tax bill compare to the rest of the Twin Cities?

Location, location, location holds true when you're talking about property taxes across the area.

Location, location, location holds true when you're talking about property taxes across the area.

From Sibley to Isanti counties in Minnesota to Pierce County in eastern Wisconsin, the Twin Cities metro sprawls across 1,000 square miles.

Hundreds of cities, townships, and other municipalities are located here. What's guaranteed for every homeowner inside this massive piece of real estate is an annual property tax bill. What can change depending on location are the various tolls that make it up.  

A new study compares the tax bills of residential properties in the metro's 16 counties. Using U.S. Census Bureau data, the website LawnStarter shows homeowners in Wisconsin's St. Croix and Pierce counties have the highest median property taxes in the region. In places like Hudson and Somerset, St. Croix County bills average nearly $3,300. In Pierce County, the number jumps to $3,700 for those in the likes of Prescott and Bay City.        

Across the St. Croix, Hennepin and Carver are the only counties of the 14 in the area with median highs above $3,000. The lowest come from the farthest reaches to the southeast and north. In Sibley County, home to less than 20,000 residents, the bill averages $1,600. Mille Lacs County's median in the north is $12 more.

The report tells only part of the story. While it gives you an idea of what residential real estate values are in the county, it doesn't say anything about property tax rates.

But the League of Minnesota Cities' property tax calculator does. It factors county, local, and school taxes, and generates a total depending on location. A house in St. Paul with a $250,000 market value has a $3,900 tax bill. It's about $100 cheaper for that same valued pad in Minneapolis.

There comes a little bit of relief from the eastern suburb of Woodbury where the taxes on a $250,000 house equal $3,300, which comes out to about the same number they'd be in Mound, about a 20-minute drive west of Minneapolis.

The League's Lena Gould is quick to remind its calculator doesn't factor in everything. Property taxes in Hennepin County, for example, include a toll to the Regional Railroad Authority. 

"Depending on where you live, what special funding referendums have been passed by voters for schools or other local projects," she says, "these affect what you'll pay in property taxes."