Analysis: Kendall County home prices wilt under growing property tax bills
Denise Sperekas was a first-time home buyer when she paid $126,100-- $173,550 in today’s dollars-- just before Thanksgiving 2001 for a brand new townhome in Montgomery’s Lakewood Creek subdivision.
Kendall County was in the midst of a housing boom. And Lakewood Creek was a big part of it, with seven new neighborhoods and 741 homes, including 176 new townhomes like the one Sperekas bought on Crescent Court.
Montgomery has since tripled in size; it has grown to nearly 19,000 people.
Demand for townhomes in Lakewood Creek, however, has not.
A neighbor’s nearly identical unit sold in February for just $110,100, 37 percent off the price paid by Sperekas in 2001. Effective property tax rates there are now 3.5 percent, or about $3,900 per home.
Over fifteen years, Sperekas has lost more than $60,000 in home equity while paying more than $55,000 in property taxes, or half of what her home is currently worth.
Fastest-growing, but the song remains the same
In recent decades, Kendall County has long been seen as a bright spot in the Chicagoland area, earning “fastest growing in the nation” honors for nearly doubling in size during the 2000’s.
But according to an analysis by Local Government Information Services (LGIS) of property taxes and home values, which publishes the Will County Gazette, population growth hasn’t rubbed off on the county’s home equity.
All five Kendall County communities analyzed saw their real home prices fall dramatically from 2007 to 2015, from a low of 17 percent in Montgomery to a high of 44 percent in Plano
Minooka and Oswego both saw their home values fall 34 percent. In Yorkville, they fell 36 percent.
Kendall County also includes small parts of the larger towns of Plainfield, Aurora and Joliet, which span multiple counties and weren’t included in the LGIS Kendall County analysis.
Property values fall, property taxes rise
As Kendall County home values have fallen, effective property tax rates have risen.
From 2007 to 2015, Minooka saw its median property tax bill rise 24 percent, from $3,970 to $5,175. Bills in Oswego and Montgomery both rose 11 percent.
In Plano, where home values fell from $214,884 in 2007 to $120,000 in 2015, effective property tax rates have risen to 3.4 percent. The buyer of a median-priced home there today, putting 20 percent down, pays $458 in principal and interest and $340 per month in property taxes.
According to Zillow, 37 homes are currently for sale in Plano. Another 59 are in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure, including 3406 Bailey Street in its Lakewood Springs subdivision, purchased in 2005 for $283,000, or $353,000 in today’s dollars.
A foreclosure auction might expect to reap around $200,000-- or what a seller got for a similar home on the block last August.
The owners of 3406 Bailey Street have paid $76,638 in property taxes since 2005.
School enrollment growing fast-- but local tax spending grows faster
The bulk of property tax bills in Kendall County goes to its sprawling school districts, which are Illinois’ fastest-growing.
Oswego School District 308 had 17,213 students in 2015, up from 4,629 in 1997, an increase of 272 percent. But its local tax spending has grown even faster over the same period-- 330 percent, from $32 million (inflation-adjusted) to $138 million.
Yorkville School District 115 has seen similarly giant growth of 184 percent, to 5,222 students in 2015 from 1,839 in 1997. Its inflation-adjusted local property tax spending is now $57 million per year, up from $15 million in 1997.
Plano District 88 spent $18 million in property taxes in 2015, up from $7 million in 1997, an increase of 137 percent. Its enrollment jumped 86 percent over the same period.
2023 projection: Plano $67,000 median sale price
LGIS projected property tax bills in 2023 for Kendall County’s communities, if the next eight years are like the last eight, and home values continue to fall.
In property taxes, average homeowners in Plano will have paid 97 percent of their 2023 median home price, projected to fall to just over $67,000.
Montgomery will have the top median home value in Kendall County, at $161,494. Homeowners there will have paid 60 percent of their home’s value over the sixteen year period-- or about what Denise Sperekas paid on her family's townhome there from 2002-2017.
Kendall County home prices vs. property taxes and 2023 Projections
|Town||2007 Median||2015 Median||% CHG||Effective Property Tax Rate||Median Property Tax||2023 Median (Proj.)||Total Property Tax Paid 2007-23||% Property Tax Paid of 2023 Median|
Sources: Zillow.com, Kendall County Assessor, Kendall County Treasurer, Blockshopper.com; 2007 median home prices inflation-adjusted
Kendall County School Districts
Spending Change versus Enrollment, 1997 to 2015
|Rank||District||1997 Local Tax Spend||2015 Local Tax Spend||Spend CHG||Enrollment CHG|
|1||Oswego CUSD 308||$32,119,836||$137,968,216||330%||272%|
|2||Yorkville CUSD 115||$15,125,406||$56,703,902||275%||184%|
|3||Plano CUSD 88||$7,455,608||$17,672,751||137%||86%|
|4||Newark CCSD 66||$1,274,301||$1,909,533||49.9%||-18%|
|5||Newark CHSD 18||$2,056,479||$2,741,236||33.3%||-16%|
|6||Lisbon CCSD 90||$766,535||$935,462||22.0%||-15%|