Property assessments do not reflect market value

A recent rise in the assessment value of properties in Nova Scotia does not reflect market value in the province, say experts.

“There’s been a moderate increase when I don’t think there’s a reason to do so,” said Tim Harris, a Realtor at Tradewinds Realty.

The Property Valuation Services Corporation (PVSC) has mailed out more than 600,000 property assessment notices to Nova Scotia property owners.

Total provincial assessments came in at approximately $101.8 billion, which includes $78.7 billion in residential and $23 billion in commercial property.

Kathy Gillis, CEO of the PVSC, said that Nova Scotia saw a three per cent rise in residential property assessments and a four per cent rise in commercial assessments, a lesser increase overall than the previous year.

“Across the province, the overall assessment base increased by about $3 billion from 2014, which is less of an increase from last year,” she said.

She added that it’s the PVSC’s mandate to release assessments in line with market value, but Harris said this is not always the case, adding that the numbers for the market are overvalued and the cost of homes are typically driven by municipalities in Nova Scotia, adding they’re more like to do what works for them.

“It should have been reduced or held to fall in line with market value,” he said. “The market doesn’t reflect the increase in property assessments.”

A rise in assessment values typically indicates a rise in property taxes, which can be a problem for domestic investors as opposed to international ones.

“We have investors who come here from other places, such as England or the U.S., where taxes can be pretty high already, so they actually prefer the market here,” continued Harris.

“But for people who live here, they’re going to be paying higher taxes than their home’s market value.”

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