More and more people are trading in their St. Louis suburb life in St. Charles County for a quieter experience in Lincoln County. Here are a couple of the reasons why:
It looks like tax rates are cheaper in much of Lincoln County versus St. Charles County. According to the Lincoln County Collector’s Office, the approximate tax rate (typically called a “levy” in government parlance) in 2017 was 1.1114 per $1,000 in assessed value. In St. Charles County, the 2017 tax rate was, on average, .8451 per $1,000. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that what you pay in property taxes is the tax rate times the assessed value of your property, so, you could end up paying more in property tax than someone in a neighboring county with a lower tax rate if your property has been assessed as being worth more. It’s also important to note that those are just the county levies. Municipalities can, and often do, add additional levies on top of the county-wide rate.
To calculate your property tax, add the value of the land with the value of whatever is built on the land (house, garage, shop, etc.). Find out your local tax rate (you can get this from your local city/county assessor’s or collector’s office), and multiply it by your property’s total value.
More affordable homes
Zillow lists the average home price in St. Charles County as $223,300, with about 1,900 homes on the market right now. Lincoln County, on the other hand, lists the average home price as $163,700 with about 628 homes on the market.
But median prices are often skewed by the outliers — those outrageously expensive mansions on the high end, or those deeply depressed properties on the low. It’s like comparing apples to a vegetable or mineral. For a comparison that’s at least all fruit, let’s take a look at lots: The average list price for a 3 acre lot in Lincoln Count is $43,938*. In St. Charles County, on the other hand, the average price for a 3 acre lot is $135,974*.
So, to return to the tax rates, if you manage to find a spot with lower property tax rates and property assessed at a lower overall value, the savings could really add up.
St. Charles County, with its proximity to St. Louis, has more people than Lincoln County. Just like anything, there are pros and cons to “city life” versus small-town or rural life, but, some people seem to be seeing the advantages of going where they have a little more elbow room. Lincoln County still has vibrant communities and close access to important quality-of-life needs — health care, good schools, entertainment, shopping and dining, etc. But it also offers its residents some other things too — like country or semi-country housing for quiet and privacy, and safe, smaller towns that provide a real sense of community. And while it’s true that there are more homes on the market in St. Charles County, there is more land up for grabs in Lincoln County, which gives you more options if you’re looking to build in a community, or would like a few acres to call your own.
The more rural nature of Lincoln County means that properties there are also in an area that is eligible to quality for USDA loans, which might give you a better interest rate than other options. Check online or with your banker or loan officer to see if that’s a good option for you.
If you’re looking for more information on what makes Lincoln County a great place to build a home, we’d be happy to help! Contact us here.
* Per St. Louis Regional MLS 10/22/2018