NC property tax assessments could be driving income, racial inequities

donny

It was the first home the Allens had ever owned – a red-brick two-story in east Burlington with enough space for two parents and four children. After decades of renting, buying the house in 2009 was a major event for Ramona and Steven Allen. But becoming homeowners also meant, for […]

It was the first home the Allens had ever owned – a red-brick two-story in east Burlington with enough space for two parents and four children.

After decades of renting, buying the house in 2009 was a major event for Ramona and Steven Allen. But becoming homeowners also meant, for the first time, the couple had to pay property taxes. 

Each year, this portion of their tax bill totaled roughly $1,400, split between the city and Alamance County. To Ramona, a manager of a nearby apartment complex, covering the tax “was a struggle.” Steven is disabled, and the two were living paycheck-to-paycheck.

“You’re paying a significant amount in one big payment,” Ramona said. “That can be burdensome.”

In early 2015, with their kids all grown and out of the house, the Allens sought to downsize to a smaller place on the other side of Burlington. They put their home on the market, and it sold for $107,000.

Ramona was happy with the sale price, but the amount revealed something she didn’t consider at the time: The government was overvaluing her home.  

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