Wilton boasts low tax per square foot

When it comes property tax per square footage for 5,000-square-foot homes, Board of Finance Chair Jeff Rutishauser found that Wilton has the second-lowest average cost in the area.

Using data from a recent real estate market report, Rutishauser analyzed 5,000-square-foot closed sales in Wilton, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, New Canaan, Ridgefield, Weston and Westport in the past year to see how the towns compare in terms of property tax per square footage.

“There’s a lot of talk that our taxes are high … so I [decided] to compare ourselves with our neighbors,” Rutishauser said at the Board of Finance’s July 17 meeting, where he shared his findings.

Rutishauser said he divided “the average property tax on an average 5,000 square-foot home in each of the communities by the amount of the average square-foot of the sale” and found the following average costs per square foot for each town:

  • Easton $3.31.

  • Wilton $3.73.

  • Weston: $3.76.

  • Ridgefield: $3.90.

  • New Canaan: $4.03.

  • Fairfield: $4.61.

  • Westport: $4.91.

  • Darien: $5.35.

“As a property tax per square foot … we’re at the lowest end. Only Easton is lower, and they’re much farther from New York City, which is kind of the dividing line of value,” said Rutishauser.

“From that standpoint, we’re competitive with the [towns] that are closest to us in character or location … and we’re [among] the lowest of them.”

CChart supplied by Halstead Real Estate

When it comes to the topic of Wilton’s real estate market, Rutishauser said, “that message just doesn’t get out often.”

“We’ve been kind of pushing taxes lower the last couple years and … it has been reflected in these numbers,” he said.

In terms of numbers of days the 5,000-square-foot homes were on the market, Rutishauser said, Wilton had one of the lowest counts at 114 days. “The 5,000-square-foot houses are moving here [in Wilton] more than they are in some of our higher-costing neighbors,” said Rutishauser.

At almost 200 days, Easton had the highest average number of days on the market of the eight towns, followed by New Canaan at 171 and Westport at 167. At 91 days, Ridgefield had the lowest average.

Rutishauser said the numbers show that Wilton is “tax-competitive,” its houses “do sell” and its 5,000 square-foot houses “turn over a little faster” than those in neighboring towns.

He also noted that of the eight municipalities, Wilton not only has the “youngest housing stock,” but is also “the most recent” one to “convert farms to houses.”