Santa Cruz County Home & Community Information


How to save money on property taxes when you are 55+

How to save money on Property Taxes when you are 55+


Not everyone is aware that there is a huge tax break available to homeowners over the age of 55 in California that want to downsize.  Thanks to Proposition 60 in California if you are 55+ and buy and sell a home within Santa Cruz county you can save thousands on your property taxes a year.




Let's say you bought your home in Santa Cruz in 1986 when the average home price was $150,000.  In California your property taxes are based on the sale price of your home and they cannot be raised more than 2% a year thanks to Proposition 13.  This means that if you bought your home in 1986 you have extremely low property taxes compared to someone who bought a similar home in 2017.  

You bought your home in 1986 and now want to downsize and get a single level condo by the beach and you can sell your home today in Santa Cruz for $1,000,0000.  As long as you buy a home of equal or lesser value to the home that you are selling - you can keep your property tax basis with you from 1986!  If you find a condo for $650,000 in Capitola, you are not paying property taxes based on $650k but on your previous home from 1986 basis which will save you thousands of dollars a year in property taxes.

I have sold homes for people in Santa Cruz that have owned them for 40 years or more and their property taxes are very low - I think the lowest I have seen was under $1,000 a year, that is crazy!

You can only use this benefit one time, so choose wisely!  From the date of the sale of your original home you have 2 years to purchase a new home.  So if you wanted to rent for awhile or build a home, you have time to do so before this benefit expires.

If you want to sell your home in Santa Cruz and move to Monterey, this property tax transfer would not work.  For the majority of counties in California this will only work if you buy and sell in the same county.

Contact me with any questions - I am happy to help!


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Authored by Jessica Wallace, Santa Cruz Realtor

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Jessica Wallace
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831 419 9345
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Comment balloon 3 commentsJessica Wallace • October 25 2017 06:45PM


Always good to be in the know. Thank you for sharing and best of luck!

Posted by Jeremy K. Frost, Associate Broker, ABR, CNE, CRS, ePro, PSA, SRS (Keller Williams Realty) about 3 years ago

Thanks Jeremy!

Posted by Jessica Wallace, Santa Cruz Realtor (831) 419-9345 (Coldwell Banker - Santa Cruz) about 3 years ago

Jessica Wallace Thanks for the very helpful educational report on how to save money on property taxes.

Posted by John Pusa, Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest) about 3 years ago

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