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Are Property Taxes Forcing the Elderly Out of Their Homes?

Rebecca Boldt, Bradley Caruth, and Andrew Reschovsky

Mayo 2010, inglés

An often-heard justifications state policymakers give for enacting property tax limitations is the assertion that without such limits rising property taxes would force many elderly homeowners to sell their homes. Surprisingly, there has been relatively little empirical research aimed at determining whether the property tax does in fact drive elderly homeowners from their homes. In this paper, we estimate a probit model of the decision to move using a large panel data set that includes data on annual changes in property tax liabilities of all homeowners in Wisconsin. We find that for homeowners under the age of 80, increases in the property tax have almost no impact on decisions to move. Only for homeowners above the age of 79, do large increases in property taxes increase the probability of moving. Even for this group of old elderly, the impact of increases in property taxes on decisions to move is small. We estimate that in 2005, only 1 in 600 Wisconsin homeowners over the age of 79 moved because their property taxes grew at an above-median rate.