Home Buying in Wyncote>Question Details

Hhunter, Home Buyer in Wyncote, PA

Much higher then normal property taxes in Cheltenham neighbourhoods!

Asked by Hhunter, Wyncote, PA Mon Mar 29, 2010

we are looking to buy and have been interested in the Elkins Park/Wyncote/Glenside area. The property taxes here are outrageous and seem to increase almost ever year. Property values are decreasing so why doesn't the assessed taxes follow this trend? How is this justified and why do the residents put up with this? I struggle to find another PA region, or even highly desirtable city that has property taxes even close to this. Cheltenham schools don't even seem to be that much better the Philadelphia, the high school, anyway

Help the community by answering this question:


It is true that the majority of the tax burdon falls on the residents of Cheltenham Township because of the low amount of commercial tax base and large amount of untaxed parcels being used by churches, synagogues , seminaries and parks. However, this is also what makes Cheltenham a beautiful and desireable community to live in. As a resident of Cheltenham, I have enjoyed the benefits of the Township with my family. I am concerned about the taxes and have actually appealed my real estate taxes the past two years and the county has reduced them. With falling values everywhere, people are having success in getting their taxes reduced. I am available to discuss this or any other questions or concerns you may have.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
i found a house io want buy in Elkins park but I'm afraid the taxes will force me to sell later. What can i do?
Flag Sun Apr 10, 2016
Anne, I see this is an old post but how do you go about appealing the taxes?
Flag Mon Nov 9, 2015
I am tired of hearing how there is no tax base. If the property owners cannot support five schools in a 2.5 square mile radius, then let us consolidate.
Flag Thu Apr 9, 2015
True enough but tax paying businesses do not preclude nice neighborhoods.
Cheltenham seems to discourage the very businesses that would help reduce the tax burden.
Flag Sun Mar 29, 2015
I have lived in Cheltenham Township for 8 years. When I first moved here I immediately applied for a Homestead Exemption. Didn't help much with the school taxes, though. I wrote to the State legislators hoping they would force a school consolidation. We really need our own high school, our own junior high school, our own middle school and four elementary schools for 9 square miles and 37,000 people? Bordered by Philadelphia, Springfield, and Abington I wondered.

I even began to think there were non-integration racial politics involved here.

But the 2001 census data shows some interesting figures...granted 2001 but quite illuminating, since we are arguing the same issue since then:

Population: Springfield Twp (ST) has a population of 19,000, Abington Twp (AT) 56,000 and Cheltenham Twp (ST) 37,000 - less than Abington.
Square miles: ST has 7,000 , AT 15,000 and CT 9,000 - less than Abington.
School Age Children: ST 3,500 under 15 years old, AB 11,000 under 15 years old, and CT 7,000 unders 15 years old - less than Abington.

Race is not the issue - ST 8% African-American, ST 10%, CT 10% - the same as Abington.
Average age is not the issue - ST 44 years old, AT40 years old, CT 40 years old - the same as Abington.

Springfield Twp has 1 high school, 1 middle school and 2 elementary schools.
Abington Twp has 1 high school, 1 junior high school and 7 elementary schools.
Cheltenham Twp has 1 high school, 1 junior high school, 1 middle school and 4 elementary schools - for fewer people, less area, and fewer under-15 children.

Millage rates - that is what the school districts charge per thousand of property tax value:
Springfield Township - 29/thousand
Abington - 27.8/thousand
Cheltenham - 41.6 per thousand

So, given the above information, why are our millage rates in Cheltenham Township double? Lower the millage rate for school taxes, so property values will rise.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 16, 2013
A major part of the problem is the lack of tax paying commercial properties in Cheltenham compared to Abington. Look at Old York. Abington is all large commercial development and Cheltenham is all Churches and Synagogues.They pay 0% tax. Crazy if you ask me.
Flag Tue Jun 18, 2013
A major part of the problem is the lack of tax paying commercial properties in Cheltenham compared to Abington. Look at Old York. Abington is all large commercial development and Cheltenham is all Churches and Synagogues.They pay 0% tax. Crazy if you ask me.
Flag Tue Jun 18, 2013
I agree! We've been looking in this area, and I would never consider buying a house with such high taxes, at any price. Once your house is paid off (which ours would be very quickly), you are stuck with the high taxes for life. Yet, there are so many very nice houses being sold for ridiculously low prices. I think this community is shooting itself in the foot. They should consider alternative ways of getting income, such as taxing places of worship properties.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 2, 2016
It's one of the richest areas of Montgomery County.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 29, 2015
The area here in cheltenham is beautiful, quiet, and for the most part safe. That said, I agree that the taxes are insane! I moved here 3.5 years ago, and if they continue to rise will not be staying. The schools are good, but they are not amazing. They need to look at ways to improve this situation, or people will have an impossible time selling their homes here, as new families will simply look in abington, jenkintown, horsham etc....where school districts are also good and taxes are not as high.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2013
YESSS you have Girls High , Central High , still one of the top schools in philly and don't forget Masterman the TOP school in philly. My daughter goes to Girls High and I guarantee you , the teaching is just as good.
Flag Mon Mar 23, 2015
When comparing Cheltenham Twp with Philadelphia neighborhoods, keep in mind that taxes are tax deductible but private school tuition is not. Furthermore, your home and car insurances is likely go down and home prices can be lower. So, if living here allows you to put your children in public school, you have two more more cars etc., crunch the numbers and see where you'll come financially ahead.

We moved to Wyncote 18 yrs. ago from Mt.Airy when my son was 3 yrs old and I have never regretted the move. Neither I nor any neighbors in Old Wyncote that I know of have had problems with vandalism, thefts or other crime in this neighborhood. The streets and parks are clean and safe, houses attractive, the trash collection, curb recycling and mail delivery work well.

That all being said, the tax issue needs to be resolved for everyone, as far as I am concerned. To have schools depend on taxing the properties is not spreading the burden evenly, making some schools "more equal" than others. We shouldn't have to choose between high taxes or filling a small township with malls.

Good luck with your home hunting!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 8, 2012
Please check the police reports. Crime in Wyncote maybe low, but it is not 0. https://www.crimereports.com/map/index/?search=Cheltenham%20PA&agencyzoomlevel=14
Flag Mon Mar 30, 2015
I just purchase a home in wyncote...I don't mind the hi tax ,cause to putted simple it keeps the getto Philadelphians out
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 24, 2012
The high taxes are not keeping anyone out !!! What it is doing is reducing the realestate values so much that ANYONE can move in. Then a couple years later when they realize they can't afford the outragous taxes they simply leave the home vacant and walk away. Selling in Cheltenham has become very difficult due to the tax rate. Unless you are prepared to give your house away (which happens all the time now) it's going to take a very long time to sell your home (if at all). Don't believe it.......? Just take a look on Zillow and see the avaerage time a home in Cheltenham remains on the market these day compared to ANYWHERE else.
It won't be much longer before Cheltenham will begin to see the impact this is having in the shape of housing blight.
We have an out of control rogue school board that thinks the residents have endless funds to support their reckless spending and irresponcibe fiscal waste. There must be some way to get this mess they have created under control !!!!!
Flag Thu Sep 25, 2014
Keeps the ghetto Philadelphians out? How about considering that, regardless of race, someone can afford a $250,000 to $450,000 house? and pay property taxes in line with every other county in Pennsylvania?
Flag Sat Mar 16, 2013
I own two houses in Cheltenham and the taxes are painful. I pay $9,000 on one house and $8,500 on the other. I rehabbed the other house and it will not sell because of the outrageous taxes on the property. Cheltenham is a huge burden with their high taxes and I am considering selling both houses and moving to another area but of course nobody wants to buy in Cheltenham so I gusess I am stuck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 11, 2011
Not to mention it'll cost you thousands in stream studies to build so much as a temporary tree house for your kids.
Flag Sun Mar 29, 2015
Ann Rubin,
I have a agent looking at a property that you have listed. My concern about the property would be the taxes.
Do you have the contact number of who you used to appeal your taxes, maybe they could give me a estimated reduction number. Property Taxes just went up again in Cheltenham! The property is great, but eventually who would be able to afford it if the property value increased. :(
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 8, 2010
Hello, HHunter,

The problem in Cheltenham is that there is little industry or commercial activity. Consequently, the tax burden rests with the homeowners, causing the taxation to be much higher than competitive areas. Conversely, the home prices tend to often be a bit lower due to the high taxation issue. At the end of the day, it is all about the monthly payment, right? So....if you can get a good buy on the house, the higher taxes will not factor in as much and your payment will be the same as if you bought a more expensive home with higher taxes.

If you like that area, you can consider the sections of Glenside and Elkins Park which are in Abington Township. There is also a section of Glenside in Springfield Township. Springfield township runs along the Phila. border as does Cheltenham, just a tad further west, and there are similar neighborhoods there as well.

If you would like to discuss this further, don't hesitate to get in touch with me.

Good luck with your home search.

Carol Cei
ReMax Millennium
Web Reference: http://www.carolcei.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
I would be more than happy to help you find a home which fits your needs. Please contact me.

Terrence Charest, e-Pro®
Century 21 Associates
905 Easton Road
Willow Grove, PA 19090
Cell (Preferred): 877.614.1494
Office: 215.659.5250
Fax: 215.659.5550

“Giving to Those Who Gave”
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
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