For housing costs, consider all occupancy costs - not just property taxes

It's inaccurate to focus on property taxes as a percentage of home value without acknowledging the actual cost of housing to which this percentage is applied.

April 30, 2018 |
Rob Cassidy

Interesting op-ed article in Crain's Chicago Business (April 23, 2018) by Andrea Zopp, CEO, World Business Chicago, pointing out the differences in annual occupancy costs per square foot (annual mortgage payment + property tax) in U.S. cities.

Leading the way: San Francisco, at $60.21 occupancy cost/sf, followed by Seattle ($29.10), Boston ($28.95), and the District of Columbia ($27.94).

More affordable: Indianapolis ($4.92), Philadelphia ($6.64), and Phoenix ($8.64).

Even Chicago, which gets slammed for high property taxes (you should see my bill!) comes in at $11.07 annual occupancy costs/sf.

Her point: You get a lot more house in Chicago (avg. 1,568 sf) than you do in NY (1,137 sf) or Denver (1,134 sf, with $18.30 annual occupancy cost/sf).

World Business Chicago is an advocacy group with a "long-standing mission to support business attraction and drive job creation" in Chicago. But Zopp's math is interesting, and I'm sure she hopes Jeff Bezos will be influenced to locate the second Amazon HQ and its 50,000 jobs in Chicago.

Rob Cassidy | BD+C Editors

Robert Cassidy is Executive Editor of Building Design+Construction and the Editor of Multifamily Design+Construction. A city planner, he is the author of several books, including “Livable Cities,” and was a co-founder of the Friends of the Chicago River.

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