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Old 01-12-2011, 11:28 AM
 
8,244 posts, read 11,162,947 times
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To be blunt and not PC at all, I was trying to address OP's question of housing costs in TX. He is coming from a high COL area and it's easy to get excited about lower costs of living but if you want equal or better amenities than where you're moving from, it's not going to be at the "average cost".

In all the time I've been on the Dallas forum on city-data, I have only seen a dozen or fewer posts of people looking for $500/mo apartments or a home in the city for $125,000 or other "statistically normal" housing based on the total city's population and available housing.

To my knowledge we have never seen a family of 6 relocating from Mexico with estimated wages of
$25,000 (housekeeper and store clerk) looking for a home in a mostly Hispanic, Spanish-speaking neighborhood of Dallas with a good Catholic church.....even though THAT criteria more closely resembles the city of Dallas as a whole.

The "average" City-Data poster on the Dallas board is a college-educated professional either being relocated, just graduating and looking for jobs/neighborhoods in Dallas, or someone who used to do well but is fleeing economic hard times and looking for the promised land of opportunity in Dallas. Most posters are shopping with a $200-300k budget, with many more posters on a $400k+ budget than on an under $200k budget. We have one frequent poster who is a professional black single woman who has been looking for a home in the $180-200k range for nearly a year and hasn't found one in a neighborhood she feels safe that's in good condition (like, will pass inspection without sinking another $30k into it to bring up to code). Another poster was looking to relocate from a small condo in Chicago and wanted to buy a family-sized home in the city close to downtown with great schools. He was fairly shocked that for $500k, his choices were a 2,000ish sf ranch home in Lakewood (East Dallas), finding $300k more in his budget to look at the cheapest cottages in Highland Park ISD, buy in north Dallas and find $10-35k per year per child for private school, or to move 20 miles out from the city to Plano, Rockwall, Coppell, etc. For a similar standard of living- good schools, status neighborhood- the cost was virtually identical to Chicago except for a home 2x the size of his condo. It wasn't the "come on down to Texas where a brand new 4,000sf home is $200k, y'all!!".....they're certainly here but not in prime locations.

Maybe it's different on your forum, maybe you just have a bone to pick with Dallas, but if you come read our forum, you'll see C-D "normal" and Dallas "normal" are quite different. All I try to do is help set expectations for those who want to move to my great city.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:23 PM
 
8,244 posts, read 11,162,947 times
Reputation: 5702
How fun!! It actually happened today!! Poster wants this:
"So you are looking for about a 2000 sq ft or larger 4 bedroom newer home in an area w/ neighborhood amenities in a good school district that is mostly white for around $150K. "

Remember, $150k is the average price for a home in Dallas and this poster is actually WILLING to live in any county in the DFW area....all the way north to Denton.

Here is just one of the similar responses she received-->

"Let me know when you find it if it is in an area worth buying in. As mentioned in another thread today, the two areas you mentioned already have been flooded w/ foreclosures so they are not as desirable to be in."

In other words, "no way jose".

Oh, and she specifically doesn't want to live in a minorty-majority neighborhood because "and not trying to be racist, prejudice, or anything of the sort...I would prefer to NOT be in the minority (we are white)." So that knocks out all those lovely $100k and under homes that DO make up 60% of the city of Dallas' real estate.

Most city-data posters on the Dallas forum looking in this price range have similar "wants" and get similar responses- "NO WAY!!"
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Texas
28,114 posts, read 23,650,826 times
Reputation: 33686
Quote:
Originally Posted by scootiepie View Post
Well that is a consideration for sure, and a factor I'm considering. But it seems almost more straightforward and simple to pay income tax, than have a bunch of miscelleneous other taxes trying to
make up for not having a state income tax. At least that is what I'm finding. Do I want to be nickel and dimed to death, or just have a chunk taken out upfront? Another thing I'm finding is that, proportionally,
having a modest income of 50,000 I could very well pay less in taxes by paying an income tax, than paying taxes based on the value of property.
At some point it evens out, but finding that point is the trick. My Texan family tells me (my whole family consists of lifelong multigenerational Texans) it is great not having the state income tax ... but without the basis of comparison not having lived in other states. But not sure I'm sold on that yet.

Just for information's sake, I'm in Virginia which tends to have some fiscal restraint so we don't have the
runaway tax issues like in the NE or CA.
Hmmmm...nickel and dimed or pay out up front?

Well, if we had a state income tax similar to California's, I'd pay $38,000 a year just for that. Compare that to $11,000 for my property taxes...huh...guess which one I will take...I'd have to buy a lot of stuff and cool my house down to 50 degrees to make up the difference.

At 50,000 bucks, you'd pay $4600+ a year in state income tax in Cali...that's what my brother paid in property taxes on a 3000 square foot home near downtown Dallas (with a pool!). And it waren't no cheap house, either.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,422 posts, read 20,765,549 times
Reputation: 6426
@ TurtleCreek80

OK, I'm beginning to understand what you are trying to say, even though it has not been very clear.

You (and many visitors to the Dallas Forum) are trying to equate the "Median Price" quoted for the area with your definition of the "average City-Data poster". There is no correlation.

Median Price gets you a Median Quality home.

From everything you are telling me. A $200K home in Dallas is far inferior to one of the same cost in Austin. As you you can find a decent 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with 2 car garage in a good safe neighborhood with great schools for less then $200K.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:28 PM
 
Location: South Central Texas via Worcester County, MA
2,702 posts, read 1,934,293 times
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In MA, my house sold for $240K in 2005, and I paid $1200 in property taxes. It was an 800 sq ft ranch. In San Antonio, my house was assessed at $98K, and I pay $3000 in property taxes. I guess a lot of it has to do with the lack of state income tax. Example: I notice that our property taxes in the county fund the community college system. SA is VERY big on their community colleges, probably because there are only 5 four-year colleges in this city. Anyway, I would have to guess that the state income tax would take care of this funding in MA. In Texas, or at least in Bexar County, they would rather just penalize homeowners. I'd still say it's cheaper down here, but not as much as I thought, once you factor in the high auto insurance and homeowner's insurance, and lower salaries in general. The government will get you one way or another.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:02 PM
 
8,244 posts, read 11,162,947 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenewtexan View Post
In MA, my house sold for $240K in 2005, and I paid $1200 in property taxes. It was an 800 sq ft ranch. In San Antonio, my house was assessed at $98K, and I pay $3000 in property taxes. I guess a lot of it has to do with the lack of state income tax. Example: I notice that our property taxes in the county fund the community college system. SA is VERY big on their community colleges, probably because there are only 5 four-year colleges in this city. Anyway, I would have to guess that the state income tax would take care of this funding in MA. In Texas, or at least in Bexar County, they would rather just penalize homeowners. I'd still say it's cheaper down here, but not as much as I thought, once you factor in the high auto insurance and homeowner's insurance, and lower salaries in general. The government will get you one way or another.
All states have to pay for the same things- schools, colleges, roads, government salaries & benefits, welfare, unemployment- it's just the methods of collecting revenue vary.

Texas has built a system where the bulk of income comes from the state sales tax (6%, + up to 2.25% more for each city's part) and property taxes. The trade-off is no personal income tax and very low corporate tax rates.

Property taxes support your local schools (K-13), community colleges, and county hospitals like Parkland in Dallas (which care for the uninsured).

The benefit of Texas is that YOU can control how much tax you pay, regardless of your income. If you make $1,000,000 a year and live in a $250,000 home, all you pay is $5,000 or so in property taxes. In a state like NY with state & city income taxes (NYC, Yonkers, etc), you'd be taxed $100,000 on your income and $2,500 or whatever on property taxes. Most people would pick Texas in that scenario. It works whether you make $50,000 or $5,000,000.

Thank goodness for no state income tax- the Illinois state legislature (led by Dems and a Dem governor) just voted FOR a 66% increase in personal income taxes AND corporate taxes, effective immediately. That is how they chose to close their budget gap- not cut expenses, but raise taxes from 4% to 6% overnight. Guarentee their sales tax revenue will decline this year as already strained families will see 2% less in their paychecks ($1,000 for a family making $50,000) overnight.

The insurance rates are another story- home insurance is high because of the relatively high chance of flood damage/ wind damage/ tornado/ hurricane/ other natural disasters in the state. Car insurance is high due to the very high number of uninsured drivers on the road in Texas- if you get hit, there's a good chance the person who hit you has no insurance and the financial burden will be on your company to fix your car).
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Texas
28,114 posts, read 23,650,826 times
Reputation: 33686
Exactly. I'd rather have the choice to live in a cheaper home than having to choose to make less money because the taxes make it not worth it.

Your car insurance would be high if a bunch of uninsured illegals were running around driving drunk in your state and cars were being stolen left and right and being shipped to Mexico/S. America.
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:36 AM
 
75 posts, read 180,549 times
Reputation: 43
I can see how the lack of state income tax benefits high income earners for sure. But low to moderate income I'm not so sure. I've already made up the difference in losing an income tax with
other costs of home ownership that are higher in TX. Our 2010 state income tax and property tax combined is about $3600, and I usually get a state income tax refund of about 500-700. So $3000 is more like it. It might even out if a new home was 150,000 or less? But sounds like that is going to be difficult to find in a nice neightborhood .....we'd be looking in the Ft Worth area, no more than a 30 minute commute (or less preferably) from the JRB.
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
727 posts, read 981,944 times
Reputation: 425
Quote:
Originally Posted by scootiepie View Post
I can see how the lack of state income tax benefits high income earners for sure. But low to moderate income I'm not so sure.
I have been saying this for a while. I moved from MA (commonly known as Taxachusetts) and now live in TX so I have done the math out for the two states and have assumed I will not get any deductions or refunds from MA.

Given my income and house I would pay 11% of my income to the state/town in TX but only 9% to MA. This is also not taking into account the high sales tax in TX. Screw the poor!
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
12,758 posts, read 13,008,291 times
Reputation: 7899
The Tax Foundation says MA collects higher per capita property taxes than Texas does. MA is ranked 8th highest to Texas 14th highest. I expect that is due to lower rates but higher assessed values.

MA has a better tax profile than the "taxachusetts" implies. Again the Tax Foundation ranks MA 23nd highest (right at the national average) per capita state and local tax burden.
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