Policy Minute: New York State Property Tax System

Research & Policy | February 5th 2016

City Street with text Policy Minute

In January, the New York State Assembly Committee on Real Property Taxation held a public hearing to evaluate New York City’s real property taxation system. Over the years, there have been numerous calls for reform from public officials, advocates, and academics alike, to address inequities within the current four property class system.  

Status Quo

  • Property taxes are New York City’s largest source of revenue. In FY 2015, the city collected nearly $21 billion from property owners, representing 27% of all city revenues, according to the latest IBO budget summary. More >>
  • While one- to three-unit residential properties (Class 1) have twice the estimated market-value of 4+ residential properties (Class 2), they pay a smaller share of the overall tax levy. More >>

NYU Furman Center Research

  • The undervaluation of co-ops and condos has significant consequences for the distribution of tax burdens in New York City. A policy brief by NYU Furman Center, Shifting the Burden: Examining the Undertaxation of Some of the Most Valuable Properties in New York City, outlines how some of New York City’s most valuable properties in its highest-cost neighborhoods are significantly and persistently undervalued and discusses the consequences. The report identifies 50 individual co-ops in 46 buildings that were sold in 2012 for more than the New York City Department of Finance’s estimate of the market value of the entire building. More >>
  • New York City’s property tax system favors homeowners. A report by the NYU Furman Center, Distribution of the Burden of New York City’s Property Tax, which appeared in the State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods in 2011 report, finds that all property is not created equally when it comes to New York City’s property tax. The city’s tax system “provides for radically different tax treatment of equally valuable properties, depending on the use of the property and the form in which it is owned. This inequality is especially pronounced in the preferential treatment shown to homeowners at the expense of residential landlords and their tenants.” More >>

Other Research

InfoGraphic comparing CoOp single-unit market value ($50M) to assessed  building value ($15.7M)

Quote Worthy

“The system is so outdated that the city currently values the most expensive apartment — a $100 million condo at 157 W. 57th Street as being worth $8.1 million, according to the IBO.”

-Khristina Narizhnaya, Jennifer Gould Keil, and Danika Fears in NY Post, January 22, 2016

Property Taxes Beyond NYC

Map: Property taxes: How does your county compare? (CNN Money) More >>

Scorecard: The Best and Worst Property Tax Administration (Council on State Taxation, May 2011) More >>

More Viewpoints

Read: This property-tax loophole is costing the city millions (Khristina Narizhnaya, Jennifer Gould Keil, & Danika Fears; NY Post; January 22, 2016) 

Read: New York City Property Values Surge (Josh Barbanel, Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2016) 

Read: Why Effort to Reform NYC Property Taxes Has Stalled (Ruth Ford, City Limits, June 10, 2015)


The NYU Furman Center’s Policy Minute highlights research and discussion relevant to current policy debates. To receive Policy Minute by email, join our mailing list

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