Report ranking Medina as among most affordable for housing seems flawed

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2017 at 5:14 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: A report about housing affordability in Medina underrepresented the property taxes for the Medina community.

MEDINA – The Medina community enjoyed some nice publicity recently when it was listed among the top 10 of most affordable communities for housing in New York. (Click here to see “Medina ranked one of most affordable housing markets in NY.”)

The listing for Medina at No. 9 in New York might have puzzled many people in Medina, who pay the highest overall tax rate in the Finger Lakes. The tax rates in the village, town, county, school and library are about $58 per $1,000 of assessed property. (Click here to see “Medina community has highest combined tax rate in region.”

However, the report from SmartAsset took a holistic look at household affordability, considering closing costs, real estate taxes, homeowners’ insurance and mortgage rates.

SmartAsset lists the average property tax bill in Medina at $2,786. With a $58 tax rate that would mean the average house assessed in Medina is about $48,000 in order for SmartAsset’s numbers to add up for average property tax bill.

However, the average house value is $81,220 when you consider other SmartAsset claims about Medina.

SmartAsset says the property taxes account for 3.43 of the average home’s value. The site lists $2,786 as the average property tax bill. However, it would take a house at an average value of $81,220 for SmartAsset’s numbers to work out for a tax bill of $2,786 representing 3.43 percent of the housing value.

The numbers go awry with an $81,220 value because Medina’s tax rate is $58. At that tax rate the total tax bill would be $4,710, nearly $2,000 more than what SmartAsset listed, and a number that would push Medina well out of the top 10 for affordability.

If the report looked at houses outside the village but with a Medina zip code the numbers still don’t add up. In Ridgeway and Shelby outside the village it’s about $17 cheaper per $1,000 of assessed property.

However, even Ridgeway and Shelby tax rates of about $41 per $1,000 of assessed property would be too high for SmartAsset’s math. For the average $81,220 home value (determined by calculating SmartAsset’s numbers), the property tax bill outside the village would be $3,330, which is $544 more than what SmartAsset has listed for the property tax.

Conclusion: The report from SmartAsset about Medina’s housing affordability misses the mark.

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