Property taxes in Provincetown increased more than any other town on Cape Cod, more than triple the Massachusetts average in 2016, according to a recent analysis by The Boston Globe.
An interactive map on the Globe website shows the average Massachusetts property owner will pay $200 more in property taxes this year. On Cape Cod the figure is slightly lower, at $180.
But in Provincetown, Cape Cod's liveliest, funkiest and relatively affluent town, the average tax bill for a single-family home will increase by $673.
Property taxes pay for municipal services and are determined by what the town spends in administration and improvements. Towns assess a relative value to every property and apply a universal tax rate to that value. If the cost of services decrease, the tax rate goes down, however that is rare. The cost of services and the corresponding tax rate, almost always goes up.
Increased property taxes create a ripple effect throughout the economy. For example, for home buyers, a fixed rate mortgage payment will remain the same for the life of the loan. A high property tax rate will take a larger share of the monthly household budget than a smaller one, forcing shoppers to look at less expensive homes.
In Provincetown in particular, where many homeowners open their places to short-term renters and guests, the cost of a higher tax bill will be passed on to the guests for a pricier nightly or weekly rate. That will leave fewer tourist dollars in the boutiques and restaurants.
The median price of a single family home on Cape Cod increased by 2.8 percent in 2015 to $365,000, according to the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors. That is slightly lower than the Massachusetts median of $383,606. Overall, the tax burden for Baystaters falls in the middle of the country, at number 25 among all 50 states.
Here are the typical property tax increases for 2016 for each of the Cape's 15 towns, from the tip to the bridges:
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