According to Zillow, Livingston Parish is a “cool” market – but it’s not a description of home movement.
Instead, they use the term “hot” versus “cool” to describe whether or not a market favors buyers (cool), or sellers (hot). A neutral market leans toward neither.
Livingston Parish is definitely not “cool” when it comes to sales, as the number of homes sold jumped 30 percent month-over-month and continues to outpace much of the Baton Rouge metro area. Not only were 130 homes sold in February, but the price per square foot continues to increase, as well as average home price.
Many times, the fact has been discussed that Louisiana has the lowest property tax rates, of the states which collect the revenue stream, in the nation. Inside the Bayou State, Livingston Parish is ranked ninth highest in rate, with St. Tammany Parish taking the top spot.
As mentioned, Livingston Parish is on the upward growth trend as people continue to move here for good schools, law enforcement, and cheap real estate.
That last part bears a certain amount of importance though, because it reflects upon the amount that can be collected in property taxes.
In the nine-parish area, Livingston Parish is still by far the cheapest place to live. The average home price on the market, currently, sits at about $160,000.
By comparison, St. Tammany Parish is at $180,000, and Ascension Parish is at $205,000.
With regard to taxable value, you can slash $75,000 off of each of those as long as folks own their home thanks to homestead exemption.
These numitbers don’t include property taxes on multi-family structures or commercial property but looking at the residential home growth, which is the fastest growing.
In order to get an idea on what home value and subsequent revenue is worth to certain areas, take the case study in Walker with the new additions to the high school campus. Walker’s administration, teachers, concerned residents, and Livingston Parish School Board members put together a very informational campaign to pass an additional, 12.25 mills property tax on top of an 8.19-mill property tax, and their share of the sales tax revenue collected by the School Board.
Basically, Walker was already collecting two taxes, and had to pass a third – then bond it out so the money could be used now, when a new school could be affordable – before it could upgrade the facilities.
Live Oak did something similar with its recreation district to create a new set of baseball and softball fields.
Livingston Parish has 39 millage districts, which coincidentally is the exact same as St. Tammany Parish. The average millage rate, per taxing district, in St. Tammany (which includes 101.1 mills, parishwide) is just over 120 mills per household bill.
Taxpayers might hit 50 in some of the more expensive districts inside the Free State here.
While Livingston Parish does indeed boast several districts that go above 10 percent in the sales tax rate, and hovers at 9.5 percent average parishwide – St. Tammany Parish is just 1 percent less at 8.5 percent total, and Ascension Parish does not have a sales tax (although Gonzales does, at a 4.5 percent rate).
Now, first and foremost, there’s no suggestion that more money should be shoveled toward any governmental entity without a responsible plan.
Live Oak had a plan; Walker did too – the School Board and Library System work hard for their millage rates, as well. The burden here lies mainly with those pushing or supporting the taxes and their ability to sell the package to the voting public.
New taxes haven’t been passed due to a decided lack of structural campaigning for the projects, including detailed financial mapping of funds and expenses. After having been stilted in the past by projects, such as the Amite River Diversion Canal and bonding out a road program that made it impossible to stay consistent five years after the bond issuance, it’s no wonder that the tax climate is poor in Livingston Parish.
And until it changes, expect your governmental services to remain much the same as neither property taxes or, at this point, sales taxes can keep up with the growth.