Chicago City Wire

Chicago City Wire

Friday, January 24, 2020

Analysis: Nearly 1 in 10 City of Chicago property owners didn’t pay 2018 real estate taxes

Real Estate

By LGIS News Service | Oct 5, 2019


The threat of local government seizing and auctioning off one’s property once motivated Illinoisans to promptly pay their real estate taxes. Or else.

But in a growing number of Cook County suburbs and Chicago neighborhoods suffering under high property tax bills, that threat is now officially empty.

More than 163,000 Cook County property taxpayers didn’t pay their bills this year, according to an analysis of Cook County Treasurer records by Chicago City Wire. That’s about 9 percent of the county’s 1.88 million total.

But only 7 percent of those delinquent properties -- 11,780 -- were able to attract a buyer at the county auction, the analysis showed.

The remaining 150,000 properties — in arrears on property taxes in perpetuity because their bills are so high as to deem them unwanted — represent yet another warning of sorts for Cook County politicians who believe they can tax and spend with impunity.

There exists a breaking point in which property owners realize it is no longer worth it to continue paying their bills, that there is no longer a downside to tax delinquency. In many Cook County communities, it has already been reached.

Nine bids on 1,070 properties offered

In south suburban Ford Heights, Cook County Treasurer records show 47 percent of property owners didn’t pay their property taxes in 2018 -- 1,070 out of 2,274.

This includes most owners of 13 of the 20 supposedly highest-valued properties in town. 

Nine of the 1,070 attracted a buyer at auction. The market says the rest of them are, effectively, worthless or even worse. 

That’s not to their owners, however, who can continue to occupy them until the market improves, resting assured that their local taxing districts don’t want the properties, either. 

In 12 Cook County communities, including Ford Heights, more than 20 percent of property owners didn’t pay their 2018 tax bills. All are in the south suburbs. They are Harvey (45 percent), Robbins (37 percent), Dixmoor (36 percent), Riverdale (34 percent), Phoenix (33 percent), Chicago Heights (27 percent), Sauk Village (25 percent), Markham (23 percent), Dolton (22 percent), Burnham (21 percent) and Calumet Park (20 percent).

Another 21 Cook County suburban communities have property tax delinquency rates of more than 10 percent; 17 are in the south suburbs. They are Hazel Crest (19 percent), Calumet City (19 percent), South Chicago Heights (18 percent), Park Forest (18 percent), Lynwood (17 percent), Posen (14 percent), Steger (13 percent), Country Club Hills (13 percent), Blue Island (12 percent), Richton Park (12 percent), Thornton (12 percent), Summit (10 percent), Matteson (10 percent), South Holland (10 percent), Olympia Fields (10 percent), Lansing (10 percent) and Glenwood (10 percent).

The City of Chicago represents 48 percent of Cook County and 54 percent of delinquent tax bills, or 87,962.


Cook County Delinquent Property Taxes

RegionTotal # Properties% of CookTotal '18 Delinquent% of Cook% Delinquent
South Cook373,42819.9%47,01328.8%12.6%
West Cook194,69110.4%11,9707.3%6.1%
North Cook417,69622.2%16,0919.9%3.9%
City of Chicago892,15547.5%87,96254.0%9.9%

Delinquent Cook County Property Sold at Auction in 2018

Region% Delinquent # sold at auction% delinquent sold at auction# Dormant properties
South Cook12.6%2,8986.2%44,115
West Cook6.1%9688.1%11,002
North Cook3.9%1,2327.7%14,859
City of Chicago9.9%6,6837.6%81,279



2018 Cook County Delinquent Property Taxes 

CommunityRegionTotal # PropertiesTotal '18 delinquent% Delinquent# sold at auction% delinquent sold at auction
AlsipSouth Cook7,5294345.8%429.7%
Arlington HeightsNorth Cook31,2341,0353.3%858.2%
BarringtonNorth Cook3,1391364.3%128.8%
Barrington HillsNorth Cook1,351846.2%89.5%
BartlettNorth Cook6,1652003.2%136.5%
Bedford ParkSouth Cook1,093343.1%00.0%
BellwoodWest Cook6,80874911.0%668.8%
BerkeleyWest Cook2,4641024.1%54.9%
BerwynWest Cook15,6769305.9%11011.8%
Blue IslandSouth Cook8,3721,01612.1%666.5%
BridgeviewSouth Cook5,3953175.9%247.6%
BroadviewWest Cook3,2892317.0%83.5%
BrookfieldWest Cook8,8923564.0%298.1%
Buffalo GroveNorth Cook6,2692233.6%156.7%
BurbankSouth Cook10,0335205.2%377.1%
BurnhamSouth Cook2,15446021.4%255.4%
Burr RidgeWest Cook2,1471185.5%86.8%
Calumet CitySouth Cook15,6522,96518.9%2388.0%
Calumet ParkSouth Cook3,26666420.3%335.0%
Chicago HeightsSouth Cook14,3523,85926.9%1493.9%
Chicago RidgeSouth Cook4,6202986.5%268.7%
CiceroWest Cook17,3901,7079.8%1126.6%
City of ChicagoChicago892,15587,9629.9%6,6837.6%
Country Club HillsSouth Cook6,46681512.6%10112.4%
CountrysideWest Cook2,8011445.1%1510.4%
CrestwoodSouth Cook6,3933084.8%175.5%
Deercrest EstatesNorth Cook590233.9%521.7%
Des PlainesNorth Cook31,6321,2934.1%816.3%
DixmoorSouth Cook2,21380236.2%121.5%
DoltonSouth Cook9,4532,08722.1%1939.2%
East Hazel CrestSouth Cook704628.8%711.3%
ElginNorth Cook8,3593374.0%216.2%
Elk Grove VillageNorth Cook14,7224703.2%286.0%
Elmwood ParkWest Cook8,4214335.1%399.0%
EvanstonNorth Cook25,5781,1044.3%777.0%
Evergreen ParkSouth Cook9,0645225.8%489.2%
FlossmoorSouth Cook4,2933728.7%5013.4%
Ford HeightsSouth Cook2,2741,07047.1%90.8%
Forest ParkWest Cook6,0903004.9%258.3%
Forest ViewWest Cook470132.8%00.0%
Franklin ParkWest Cook8,0525066.3%305.9%
GlencoeNorth Cook3,8031804.7%179.4%
GlenviewNorth Cook21,5768453.9%718.4%
GlenwoodSouth Cook3,9883799.5%4010.6%
Hanover ParkNorth Cook5,5482384.3%2410.1%
HarveySouth Cook15,0746,73144.7%1662.5%
Harwood HeightsWest Cook2,9201194.1%1210.1%
Hazel CrestSouth Cook6,1911,17719.0%877.4%
Hickory HillsSouth Cook5,2212595.0%166.2%
HillsideWest Cook3,5421895.3%179.0%
HinsdaleWest Cook1,040525.0%815.4%
HodgkinsWest Cook614152.4%213.3%
Hoffman EstatesNorth Cook17,7966673.7%548.1%
HometownSouth Cook1,736824.7%44.9%
HomewoodSouth Cook8,8235996.8%6310.5%
Indian Head ParkWest Cook2,274924.0%1213.0%
InvernessNorth Cook3,3411484.4%64.1%
JusticeSouth Cook3,3992126.2%157.1%
KenilworthNorth Cook1,024504.9%24.0%
La GrangeWest Cook6,7182854.2%269.1%
La Grange HighlandsWest Cook1,088464.2%36.5%
La Grange ParkWest Cook4,7091513.2%138.6%
LansingSouth Cook12,9821,2559.7%977.7%
LemontSouth Cook8,5553123.6%237.4%
LincolnwoodNorth Cook5,7462985.2%3210.7%
LynwoodSouth Cook3,59161617.2%233.7%
LyonsWest Cook4,1342626.3%3413.0%
MarkhamSouth Cook9,6432,24023.2%1094.9%
MattesonSouth Cook7,85982310.5%647.8%
MaywoodWest Cook7,9711,43118.0%1188.2%
McCookWest Cook373143.8%00.0%
Melrose ParkWest Cook9,4466777.2%426.2%
Merrionette ParkSouth Cook672355.2%514.3%
MidlothianSouth Cook6,1605278.6%468.7%
Mission Hills EstatesNorth Cook340185.3%211.1%
Morton GroveNorth Cook11,2034253.8%225.2%
Mount ProspectNorth Cook19,1176073.2%325.3%
NilesNorth Cook12,0504303.6%347.9%
NorridgeWest Cook5,7831923.3%115.7%
North RiversideWest Cook2,6751074.0%54.7%
NorthbrookNorth Cook15,6606214.0%569.0%
NorthfieldNorth Cook3,0751504.9%1711.3%
NorthlakeWest Cook4,2782405.6%197.9%
Oak ForestSouth Cook10,9915895.4%417.0%
Oak LawnSouth Cook26,1791,2554.8%997.9%
Oak ParkWest Cook19,2469294.8%717.6%
Olympia FieldsSouth Cook2,3522319.8%3414.7%
Orland HillsSouth Cook2,265964.2%44.2%
Orland ParkSouth Cook27,6681,1694.2%655.6%
PalatineNorth Cook28,0271,0313.7%868.3%
Palos HeightsSouth Cook6,5752844.3%207.0%
Palos HillsSouth Cook7,9784265.3%266.1%
Palos ParkSouth Cook4,3912044.6%2311.3%
Park ForestSouth Cook6,4791,14617.7%17615.4%
Park RidgeNorth Cook16,5976053.6%447.3%
PhoenixSouth Cook1,72156632.9%193.4%
PosenSouth Cook3,12243914.1%112.5%
Prospect HeightsNorth Cook5,9382684.5%207.5%
Richton ParkSouth Cook4,55754311.9%529.6%
River ForestWest Cook4,5532164.7%2511.6%
River GroveWest Cook3,6161744.8%105.7%
RiverdaleSouth Cook4,9241,66433.8%995.9%
RiversideWest Cook3,7431453.9%96.2%
RobbinsSouth Cook5,7552,11036.7%291.4%
Rolling MeadowsNorth Cook9,3403714.0%215.7%
RoselleNorth Cook1,858854.6%55.9%
RosemontNorth Cook1,575452.9%24.4%
Sauk VillageSouth Cook3,62088724.5%11312.7%
SchaumburgNorth Cook29,3089963.4%656.5%
Schiller ParkWest Cook4,7112585.5%207.8%
SkokieNorth Cook28,7761,1744.1%998.4%
South BarringtonNorth Cook2,3501044.4%87.7%
South Chicago HeightsSouth Cook2,22339917.9%307.5%
South HollandSouth Cook9,53796110.1%838.6%
StegerSouth Cook3,25842313.0%225.2%
StickneySouth Cook2,5021435.7%96.3%
Stone ParkWest Cook1,27313010.2%1612.3%
StreamwoodNorth Cook14,5856034.1%579.5%
SummitSouth Cook3,36335310.5%257.1%
ThorntonSouth Cook1,37015811.5%95.7%
Tinley ParkSouth Cook21,1158444.0%607.1%
WestchesterWest Cook8,5173053.6%247.9%
Western SpringsWest Cook5,5271943.5%178.8%
WheelingNorth Cook13,9425133.7%438.4%
Willow SpringsWest Cook3,4401584.6%74.4%
WilmetteNorth Cook10,8894303.9%296.7%
WinnetkaNorth Cook5,1932845.5%3913.7%
WorthSouth Cook4,2632716.4%145.2%


Sources: Cook County Treasurer, Cook County Assessor, Cook County Recorder,

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