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Property assessments not in line with market value, says local real estate broker

TRURO – The cost of owning property in Nova Scotia has gone up ever so slightly, with one of the smaller increases being seen in Colchester County.

While property assessments across the province increased over last year, one local real estate broker says one of the smallest increases came from Colchester County. The increase in assessment values means a rise in property taxes, however local market values decreased slightly. 

Property Valuation Services Corporation (PVSC) mailed out or electronically sent more than 600,000 property assessment notices on Friday to property owners around the province.

Provincially, total assessments came in at $101.8 billion – with $78.7 billion in residential and $23 billion in commercial property.

It’s a small increase from last year’s total, with possible reasons being a slowing down of the real estate market and less construction.

“Across the province, the overall assessment base has increased by about $3 billion from 2014, which is less of an increase than the previous year,” corporation CEO Kathy Gillis said.

Colchester County saw a 0.68 per cent change in residential property assessments, while commercial properties were valued 3.39 per cent higher than last year. The smaller increases will help local businesses already established in the area, said Royal LePage associate broker Todlynn MacPherson.

“Obviously we’d like to see commercial assessment values and taxation rates as low as possible to attract new business to the area,” MacPherson said. “With a low increase, it does allow businesses to plan into the future a little better.”

While the PVSC states its mandate is to release assessments in line with market value, MacPherson said that’s not always the case.

“Our market values have gone down slightly this year, so it would have been nice to see assessment levels fall in line with market values and not rise.”

A rise in assessment values means a rise in property taxes. Property owners have 30 days to appeal the assessments, with a deadline set for Feb. 9.

“It’s money out of (owners’) pockets,” MacPherson said. “They’re going to be paying higher taxes than the market value on their home. It’s costing them more money.

Despite the impacts, people often take the information as gospel and choose not to appeal.

“Most people don’t appeal their assessments when it’s higher because they think that’s a reflection of the market value,” MacPherson said. “It’s not always.”

After a dramatic rise in values between 2004 and 2008, assessment increases have been minimal the last few years. The greatest increases this year were seen in the Halifax Regional Municipality, which represented $53.3 billion of the province’s totals – a $2.4 billion increase over last year.

PVSC call centre representatives and assessors are available to answer questions at 1-800-380-7775 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Property owners who wish to appeal their assessment can fax, mail or deliver their appeal to a PVSC centre. The Truro centre is located at 15 Arlington Place, Suite 6.

Twitter: @tdnryan


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