Private sale information no longer private
TRURO – A new online resource is now available that publicizes the purchase price for properties sold in Nova Scotia.
“It’s for the public to review sale prices and just for them to deem whether they believe their assessment is market value,” said Philip Schofield, a spokesman with the province’s Property Valuation Services Corporation (PVSC).
“The past sales were not considered public.”
The free online service was activated on Jan. 14 after legislation enabling the information to be made public was passed last spring.
“We’ve have thousands of hits on our website,” he said, adding that in the first week of the information being made public, the site recorded 25,000 hits.
The website is touted as another tool for buyers and sellers to become more informed when they are considering property transactions.
That perspective is also shared by Roger Sanford, director for the northern region, of the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors.
“I think it’s going to be a good thing,” he said. “Because it’s something that I know we have a lot of local people calling us every year to find out what their house should be assessed at, (if) it’s too high or something. “
That leads to numerous requests for realtors to provide a free market analysis of residential properties, he said. But with the new public disclosure of property sales, people can go online to do comparisons for themselves.
“I think it’s going to be a lot easier for people that want to do anything with their assessments because a lot of these properties are over assessed. Then again, a lot of them are under assessed,” he said.
“I think it’s good to be out there,” he said. “I think it’s going to work out OK and I think it’s going to be a good thing in the long run.”
And while some people, especially those who sell their properties through a private sale, may not want the information to be public, Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell said in an emailed response to questions posed by the Truro Daily News that a privacy impact assessment was conducted as part of the legislation that allows for the publication of sales prices.
“In order to ensure fairness and openness in assessment appeals, the legislation does not allow for exceptions to the requirement that sale prices be public,” he said.
Sales information on the PVSC site dates back to July 2010, the same as the 2013 assessments, and sales are reviewed for six months on either side of that time frame. Information is updated weekly.
The information for the database is to be provided by the purchaser of a property within 10 days of a recorded sale. Property purchasers are required to complete the Deed Transfer Tax affidavit, as prescribed under the Municipal Government Act, in order to calculate how much tax is payable to the municipality where the property is located.
That information is then collected by the Registry of Deeds and a copy is forwarded to PVSC for assessment purposes.
To search for online property sale information, visit http://www.pvsc.ca/en/home/default.aspx.
To find the price of a property that has been sold, log onto the website and go to the box on the right that says: “Find an Assessment.” Click on “search now.” From there, go to the green box on the left side of the screen and follow the prompts that are displayed.