Lake County Gazette

Lake County Gazette

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Analysis: Soaring property taxes eviscerating home equity in Lake County

By Lake County Gazette | Feb 6, 2017

Tax

Cross Lake, 89 acres in size, straddles the Illinois-Wisconsin border, an hour’s drive northwest of Chicago.

It’s western shore spans two adjacent communities, Antioch, Illinois and Trevor, Wisconsin, where a continuous development of modest lakefront homes makes the state line essentially indistinguishable.

Illinois or Wisconsin, the homes on Cross Lake look no different. But the distinction isn’t lost on their owners.

In Trevor, a 1,368 square-foot two bedroom, two bath at 12805 234th St. sold in fall 2015 for $255,000.

Seven docks, or a three-minute walk south across the state line, a 2,400-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath at 143 Lakewood in Antioch sold last spring for $225,000.

Why would a home 75 percent larger with more bedrooms and bathrooms sell for $30,000 less?

Property taxes.

The Wisconsin home is valued higher because its tax bill is so much lower. At $3,202 per year, it’s about half what their Illinois neighbor pays— $6,211 per year— just across the state line.

If the Antioch home were a few hundred feet up the street in Trevor, paying the same rate its bill would be $2,925 per year, a savings of $275 per month.

If the Trevor home were a few hundred feet down the street in Antioch, its bill would be $7,140, an increase of $329 per month.

It should come as no surprise why home buyers, given a choice, would head for the border.

A double whammy for Lake County homeowners

An analysis by Local Government Information Services of 43 Lake County communities found that soaring taxes are having a major impact on Lake County property values.

Inflation adjusted, all 43 saw median prices fall significantly from 2007 to 2015.

The worst: North Chicago (-51 percent), Waukegan (-48 percent), Zion (-46 percent), Round Lake Beach (-45 percent) and Round Lake Park (-44 percent).

The least-worst: Riverwoods (-22 percent), Lake Bluff (-22 percent) and Lake Forest (-23 percent), where the median sale price fell from $1.057 million to $815,000.

Every Lake County community saw its home values fall significantly. Compounding the pain, as they did, property taxes continued rising.

The rise was driven, in large part, by steady increases in local school district spending, which make up 70 percent of a typical property tax bill. While Lake Forest homeowners saw their property values fall 23 percent, Lake Forest’s Roundout School District 72 increased spending by 29 percent over the same period, adjusted for inflation.

Winthrop Harbor School District 1 hiked spending by 18 percent, while Winthrop Harbor’s median home price fell 37 percent to $148,000.

Mundelein School District 120 raised spending 17 percent while Mundelein homeowners saw their home prices fall an average of 32 percent.

Libertyville District 70 raised spending 15 percent while its homeowners saw their home values fall 23 percent.

No end in sight?

In 2015, effective property tax rates in 41 of 43 Lake County communities were higher than 2.45 percent, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis. An effective property tax rate is calculated by dividing what one pays annually in property taxes by their home’s value.

The average rate in Lake County is 3.3 percent, twice the national average (1.31 percent) and more than three times the average rate in neighboring Indiana (0.88 percent).

In 20 Lake County communities, including Antioch, Mundelein and Lake Villa, it was higher than 4 percent.

In Grayslake, the effective property tax rate in 2015 was 5.33 percent.

In real dollars, this means property taxes on a $300,000 home in Grayslake are $15,990 per year ($1,333 per month). In Indiana, the same home’s bill would be $2,640 ($220 per month).

The LGIS analysis projects what home prices will look like in 2023, if the next eight years are like the last eight. If home prices fall at the same pace, homeowners in 14 Lake County communities will have paid more than their home’s full value in property taxes over the previous 16 years of ownership.

In Zion (182 percent), North Chicago (154 percent) and Waukegan (149 percent) rank the worst for homeowners.

But in all but four Lake County communities, homeowners will have paid more than half of their home’s value in property taxes over the 16-year span.

LGIS publishes North Cook News and 25 more news products across the state, focused on local government transparency.

Lake County Median Home Prices, 2007 - 2015

All numbers are inflation-adjusted.

RankCommunityJan 2007Jan 2015CHG
1North Chicago$158,891$77,500-51.2% 
2Waukegan$181,753 $94,500 -48.0% 
Zion$181,753 $99,100 -45.5% 
4Round Lake Beach$186,325$103,000 -44.7% 
5Rond Lake Park $169,179 $94,200 -44.3% 
6Fox Lake$201,186 $115,000 -42.8% 
7Beach Park$226,334$131,000 -42.1% 
8Lakemoor $235,479 $137,000 -41.8%
9Wonder Lake $200,043 $117,000 -41.5% 
10Hainesville $235,479 $143,000 -39.3%
11Wauconda $288,061 $176,000 -38.9% 
12Island Lake $238,908 $146,000 -38.8%
13Round Lake Hts $233,192 $145,000 -37.8% 
14Winthrop Harbor $235,479 $148,000 -37.2% 
15Round Lake $273,201 $172,000 -37.0% 
16Highwood $441,237 $283,000 -35.8% 
17Lindenhurst $270,915 $176,000 -35.0% 
18Tower Lakes $605,843 $397,000 -34.5% 
19Lake Villa $342,930 $228,000 -33.5% 
20Antioch $277,773 $185,000 -33.4% 
21Buffalo Grove $395,513 $265,000 -33.0% 
22Grayslake$286,918 $193,000 -32.7% 
23Wadsworth $403,514 $272,000 -32.6% 
24Mundelein $292,634 $200,000 -31.7% 
25Gurnee $329,213 $226,000 -31.4% 
26Third Lake $349,789 $241,000 -31.1% 
27Fox River Grove $308,637 $213,000 -31.0% 
28Lake Barrington $477,816 $337,000 -29.5% 
29North Barrington $863,041 $609,000 -29.4% 
30Hawthorn Woods $672,143 $477,000 -29.0% 
31Lincolnshire $609,272 $433,000 -28.9% 
32Kildeer$808,172 $590,000 -27.0% 
33Deer Park$680,145 $500,000 -26.5% 
34Vernon Hills $395,513 $294,000 -25.7% 
35Long Grove $876,758 $674,000 -26.2% 
36Barrington $550,974 $412,000 -25.2% 
37Highland Park$657,283 $493,000 -25.0% 
37Deerfield $601,271 $451,000 -25.0% 
38Lake Zurich $409,230 $308,000 -24.7% 
39Green Oaks $714,438 $540,000 -24.4% 
40Libertyville $522,397 $400,000 -23.4% 
41Lake Forest $1.057M $815,000 -22.9% 
42Lake Bluff $744,158 $578,000 -22.3% 
43Riverwoods $866,470 $674,000 -22.2% 

Fastest-spending Lake County School Districts

School District Local Spending, 2007 - 2015

RankDistrict 2015 Local SpendingCHG
1Rondout 72 (Lake Forest)$4,989,032+28.7% 
2Millburn 24 (Old Mill Creek) $14,047,715 +24.3% 
3Winthrop Harbor 1 $5,746,652 +18.0% 
4Lincolnshire-Prairieview 103 $29,336,865 +17.5% 
5Mundelein 120 $33,138,989 +16.7% 
6Fremont 79 (Mundelein) $28,143,975 +16.4% 
7Big Hollow 28 (Ingleside) $14,022,857 +16.0% 
8Libertyville 70 $33,004,748 +15.0% 
9Lake Villa 117 $43,984,131 +14.5% 
10Wauconda 118 $50,148,226 +14.0% 
11Gavin 37 (Ingleside) $7,830,102 +12.2% 
12Grass Lake 36 (Antioch) $3,927,149+11.7% 
13Emmons 36 (Antioch) $4,380,826 +11.6% 
14Lake Forest 115 $44,038,591 +10.8% 
15Antioch 34 $28,093,423 +10.2% 
16Fox Lake 114 $8,168,763 +9.7% 
17Zion 6 $14,930,126 +9.3% 
18Lake Villa 41 $22,504,958 +9.1% 
19Hawthorn 73 (Vernon Hills) $49,119,781+8.9% 
20Highland Park 113 $92,628,170 +8.6% 
21Lake Zurich 95 $81,145,722 +8.5% 
22Oak Grove 68 (Libertyville) $14,607,855 +8.4% 
23Grant 124 (Fox Lake) $26,151,679 +8.3% 
24Barrington 220 $131,577,524 +7.9% 
25Grayslake 46 $35,465,263 +7.8% 
26Gurnee 56 $25,562,563 +7.6% 
27Woodland 50 (Gurnee) $70,987,256 +6.8% 
28Beach Park 3 $18,820,377 +6.6% 
29Stevenson 125 $98,091,550 +6.2% 
30Vernon Hills 128 $79,808,804 +5.1% 
31Zion-Benton 126 $30,703,928 +4.7% 
32 Warren Township 12$51,419,242 +4.7% 
33Bannockburn 106 $6,489,653 +3.2% 
34North Chicago 187 $15,828,613 +1.5% 
35Mundelein 75 $16,407,895 +0.6% 
36Lake Bluff 65 $16,046,584 -0.6% 
37Diamond Lake 76 $11,979,002 -1.5% 
38Kildeer 96 $47,546,092 -1.7% 
39Round Lake 72 $34,562,503 -1.8% 
40North Shore 112 $67,255,103 -2.9% 
41Aptakisic-Tripp 102 $30,708,617 -2.8% 
42Waukegan 60 $65,344,172 -18.9% 
All numbers are inflation-adjusted. Does not include state or federal grants to school districts. Federal and state aid to Waukegan 60 grew 33% over the period; total spending increased nine percent.

Lake County 2023 Projected

RankCommunity2023 MedianTaxes PaidTaxes Paid %

(2007-2023)

1Zion $61,766$112,578 182.3% 
2North Chicago $43,210 $66,340 153.5% 
3Waukegan $56,165 $83,462 148.6% 
4Round Lake Park $59,957 $76,867 128.2% 
5Round Lake Beach $65,086 $81,246 124.8% 
6Hainesville $99,267 $123,552 124.5% 
7Beach Park $86,672 $102,285 118.0% 
8Grayslake $148,402 $164,590 110.9% 
9Wonder Lake $78,223 $86,112 110.1% 
10Lindenhurst $130,700 $136,294 104.3% 
11Winthrop Harbor $106,330 $110,349 103.8% 
12Third Lake $189,807 $191,643 101.0% 
13Round Lake $123,782 $124,941 100.9% 
14Round Lake Hts $103,064 $103,472 100.4% 
15Lakemoor$91,112 $88,338 97.0% 
16Wauconda $122,921 $114,330 93.0% 
17Fox Lake $75,142 $69,736 92.8% 
18Island Lake $101,990 $94,608 92.7% 
19Lake Villa $173,280 $157,958 91.2% 
20Antioch $140,844 $118,696 84.3% 
21Mundelein $156,250 $129,280 82.7% 
22Wadsworth $ 209,586$147,533 70.4% 
23Buffalo Grove $202,962 $138,648 68.3% 
24Gurnee $177,347 $120,051 67.7% 
25Vernon Hills $249,815 $150,528 60.3% 
26Tower Lakes $297,375 $177,221 59.6% 
27Long Grove $545,774 $321,947 59.0% 
28Highwood $207,484 $120,898 58.3% 
29Lincolnshire $351,762 $199,526 56.7% 
30Deerfield $386,694 $215,037 55.6% 
31Hawthorn Woods $386,954 $208,354 53.8% 
32Fox River Grove $168,033 $90,312 53.7% 
33Highland Park $422,694 $213,765 50.6% 
34Barrington $352,166 $177,984 50.5% 
35Lake Barrington $271,696 $136,957 50.4% 
36Kildeer $492,362 $246,384 50.0% 
37North Barrington $491,233 $245,549 50.0% 
38Libertyville $350,109 $174,720 49.9% 
39Lake Zurich $264,983 $131,085 49.5% 
40Green Oaks $466,560 $218,592 46.9% 
41Deer Park $420,168 $196,800 46.8% 
42Riverwoods $599,309 $284,698 47.5% 
43Lake Forest $718,081 $241,240 33.6% 
44Lake Bluff $513,186 $171,088 33.3% 

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Organizations in this Story

Lake CountyMundelein Elementary School District 75