Wake County North Carolina Property Tax Value vs. Market Value

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Realty Arts NC Broker License #235526

Wake County, North Carolina has a wonderful amount of on-line information available to the public.

Property Buyers and Sellers can access photos, notes on building permits, tax bills, deed history, subdivision or area sales, structure information, and a map of the property, including zoning, environmental features, and aerial photography.



One item that confuses many Buyers from out of state is the lack of correlation between "Tax Value," and the Listing Price of a property for sale.  Basically, it is safe to say there is no correlation between the two in Wake County, and much of North Carolina.

In many regions "Tax Value" is adjusted to reflect recent sales activity, and correlates closely to property value.  Wake County Tax Values are re-assessed at eight year intervals.  There is an optional "adjustment" at the 4 year mark of that cycle.  It is not aggressively used to bring Tax Values "into line" with market conditions.

The next Wake County re-assessment is scheduled for 2008, and Tax Values will likely change dramatically to the upside. 

Separate from the Tax Value is the "Property Tax Rate."   This is the percentage taken against the Tax Value to determine the property tax due. 

In Wake County municipalities, the rate is in the <1% vicinity, i.e., on a home with a $275,000 Tax Value, the owner may pay <1%, or $2750+/-, property tax, including municipality and county taxes.

The Market Value of that home may be $275,000 or $600,000, or whatever, depending on whether it existed prior to the last re-assessment.

The Wake County Property Tax Rate for a home is .534%, which includes School taxes and a recycling fee, and the Town of Cary is .33% on my home, yielding a total property tax rate of .864%.


Click for current Wake County tax rates after 2008 reassessment

So, don't be surprised when Tax Value and Listing Price don't correlate.

And when you see a Wake County real estate advertisement trumpeting, "BELOW TAX VALUE!," be wary about interpreting that as an indication of value.  It may just be marketing to garner interest from folks who don't understand the local system.

Posted by



Scan the QR Code with your Smartphone to Email MeQR CodeMike Jaquish, REALTOR®

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Independent Broker/Owner, Realty Arts

130 Towerview Court,

Cary, NC

Comments (19)

Leigh Brown
Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive - Charlotte, NC
CEO, Dream Maker - Charlotte, NC
So true!  I spend a lot of time explaining to out-of-state buyers that tax value doesn't mean anything except what your tax bill will be.  I'm surprised that Cary is cheaper than Charlotte, though!
Jan 07, 2007 11:02 AM
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


Cary has historically been financially strong and well managed.  Current debt levels have gotten interesting, but still a top rating in the muni bond market.

Jan 07, 2007 11:10 AM
LLoyd Nichols
Premier Florida Realty of SWFL - Fort Myers, FL
Southwest Florida Homes By The Sea
you are still doing okey Mike, unless you have homestead a home in Lee County Florida which is selling for $305,000 will have an assessed taxable value of $275,000 and the new owners will pay taxes of $4,443.WE used to have a much larger difference between taxable value and market value of a home but it seems Lee County and Collier County have changed this policy and are now coming harder on the new owners.Of course the interest rate you pay on your mortgage is deductable. Of course with a drop of the average home in Lee County going from about $330,000 a year ago to about $250,000 now you are going to get more home for your buck and as you work with a good realtor you can find a home which can be assessed for much less then one year ago.It's all relative. Once you declare Homestead in January the County cannot raise your assessed value to more then 3% per year.So once you pass the first year you are okey. Great blog Mike. We have to be very clear when we explained these different values to our out of state buyers.  
Jan 07, 2007 11:34 AM
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Thanks Lloyd!

The more I hear ablout the Sunshine State, the more I know that state Laws vary widely.

Jan 07, 2007 11:39 AM
Karen Reynolds
Champagne Staging. LLC - Raleigh, NC
The downside to the Wake County page is that the size of the home is often inaccurate.  I have seen the County tax people come out, spend about 10 minutes looking at the outside of a house and then leave.  I had to laugh, my house is 3900 ft., and it showed up on the County site as being 6,088 sq. feet.  EEK!  Talk about a huge tax bill, I almost had a heart attack!  I have another property that is 1617 ft., and the County page says its 1512 ft.  In the long run, I suppose, its better to take the measurements of the  appraiser to heart I would imagine since they actually spend more time at the property than the tax guy.
Jan 08, 2007 05:30 AM
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

"I had to laugh, my house is 3900 ft., and it showed up on the County site as being 6,088 sq. feet."

 Come on, Karen...Is a measly 2188 SF really material?  LOL

The difference between 1512 and 1617 SF is a lot more common, though.  When we bought our home, the listing said the same number as the Tax rolls.  2268 SF.  What are the chances of THAT happening? 

A lot of folks take the tax site as gospel, don't they?

Thanks for the response!

Jan 08, 2007 09:22 PM

This was an extremely beneficial article.  Thanks for the information.  I am looking at a property in Hillsborough, NC and there was a 2:1 difference between the listing price and the tax value and my ears immediately pricked up!  After reading your article, I feel much better about the listing price.  I understand that there really isn't much of a correlation between the two values in the state of NC.



Sep 13, 2007 08:08 AM
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate
Thanks BW and good luck with your purchase!
Sep 13, 2007 10:48 AM

I am in wake county and they my property assessment went from 166k to 216k and no property in the subdivision has ever sold over 211k

Nov 20, 2007 02:29 PM
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


I think that is because the County is trying to get ahead of property values 8 years from now.

Since we only re-assess every eight years, over time the assessed values fall below market values over that period of time.

And, of course, you can appeal, like many homeowners will.

Nov 20, 2007 09:19 PM

I think I will have to appeal, I own 3 properties in that subdivision.  

 I saw in the news today that they are going to increase the tax rate too, to pay for some bonds.  That's really going to hurt the local economy.  My taxes have already been going up for the past couple of years.




 2592 (estimate)

My estimate is showing 36% higher  than the previous years which is way out of line with inflation, but lower than what the average person here will feel.  If people believe that there is a negative savings rate, and the cost of many things are rising faster than inflation (oil, gas, insurance, food,etc. .) then we are in for some tough times unless wages increase a lot which will most likely not happen.  I believe consumer spending will slow dramatically and cause retail stores to close and commercial real estate to be punished. With more people unemployed, consumers will spend even less which by it's self will cause more retail to close.  I think it's gonna get a lot worse before it gets better.  

Nov 25, 2007 03:19 PM

We are looking for ways to invest our money. We were told there are times when homes are auctioned off for the taxes owed. Is this true and if so, how can we find out when?

May 21, 2008 09:31 AM
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


You might check at the county tax office.

Here is the list of current Tax Lien Foreclosures in Wake County.

PLEASE NOTE:  This is a very risky way to invest in real estate.  You should consult with a real estate attorney about the pitfalls of bidding on tax lien foreclosure properties.

May 21, 2008 02:15 PM
Doug Watson, Advantage Appraisals, Inc.

My observation about the revaluation is that it occurred at a very inopportune time for taxpayers, especially those with high value properties. While the valuations went into effect at the begining of 2008, the values were extracted from early 2007 and before. In general, our market had peaked by the end of 2007 and went into decline by early 2008. The net result is that properties have been valued based on sale prices of properties while our market was strongest. Now that the market has weakened, there are neighborhoods where there is 12 or more months of inventory available. This has driven prices down significantly and it may take years before we return to the former price levels. I completed about a dozen appraisals for property tax disputes, but I know there were many who missed the deadline and may now be stuck with an over-assessment.

Jun 29, 2008 04:26 AM
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


I am seeing more and more properties which were overassessed and folks accepted it, knowing they were going to try to sell.  Then they are using tax valuations to justify pricing, when the homes' market prices were never that high.

Jun 29, 2008 01:42 PM

Mike, i know I'm a latecomer, but am compelled to throw in my two cents. Even when I worked for a mortgage company here last year we were able to create a decent estimate of what the appraised value would come in at based off of tax values and knowing that they ran from 10-30% less.

Nonetheless, we just bought a home and got taken by the tax value scenario.

Our own agent expressed amazement at the fact we were getting the house for 40K under tax value. The appraisal shows that the house is worth almost $30K less than the tax value. The current owner appealed right away in january 08 and lost, reason being that the value they gave her home was comparable to the other homes in the neighborhood, some of whom go up to $350K tax assessed value. Of course, those homes didn't make it as comps in the appraisal. Fortunately we are still walking in the door with 18K in equity...

a question i would pose is, now that we are in a buyer's market, does it typically stay that way for long in our market?

Sep 24, 2008 02:32 PM
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


You will need either appreciation or reassessment to bring tax value and market value back into alignment.  Reassessment is performed every 8 years, so it may be worthwhile to press your case with Wake County.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, you know?

You might take your appraisal into Wake County Department of Revenue, to see if they will reopen your file and reexamine your tax value, since you are a recent buyer.  If an independent appraisal of market value will be accepted, you may benefit from paying for one.

I was denied in my first appeal, and repeated my appeal, and then received an adjustment in tax value.  I think that was some of the Wake County game plan, to deny and only deal with those who didn't go away.

Good Luck!

Sep 25, 2008 03:27 AM

just found this forum and am green behind the ears on all this, but i want to ask some things and hope i don't appear too dumb.  my hubby and i are looking at retirement and the economy, and considering an old (built 1932) house in beaufort co.,nc.  very few renovations have been done (so i'm sitting here wondering if it's old plaster walls that would need to be pulled out to replace dangerous cloth covered wiring etc...) and i'm not getting hardly any answers from the agent i was assigned to.  (really not happy about that; may well request a new one.)  the home sits on 2 lots and 2 addt. lots are included.  total assessed value is ~105 k; asking price 150 k.  (and yes, i've read that the 2 often don't correlate.)  we live out of state and hope to travel to see the place this weekend.  what i'm curious about is (can't get ahold of the tax assessor today yet, so don't have the year the tax assessment was done, etc.)  does anyone out there have a ballpark figure as to how much property has declined in the past couple years in nc?  anything anyone could offer would be appreciated.  deb

Feb 12, 2009 03:30 AM
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


Make your agent work for you.

Read this brochure:


I can't really give you much help in the Beaufort County area, but there are several ActiveRain members who are located there:



Feb 12, 2009 05:31 AM