Top tax-friendly towns: Saint John

To many, Saint John is a coastal city located along the Bay of Fundy, rich in history and tradition. But to the more business-minded set, the New Brunswick town is a thriving real estate market, with low prices and a varied residential inventory.

With an average price well under $200,000 and attractive property tax rates, Saint John is proving all the more enticing for investors.

According to data from the provincial government, residents are charged approximately $1.79 per $100 of their property’s value, which makes for a property tax rate of 0.01785 per cent [in June 2014].

Tax factors

“New development and neighbouring properties have a big effect on property taxes,” says Barry McDonald, broker for EXIT Realty Specialists. “The government is always looking to increase its revenue, and that is also a factor.”

The property tax increased slightly in 2013, and as MacDonald explains, “it was due to the City of Saint John wanting to increase its revenue source.”

Market performance

Saint John’s market is attractively priced, with the Canadian Real Estate Association reporting an average price of $165,622 for April 2015.

In terms of the best buy in the market, MacDonald advises investors to consider multi-family properties, specifically those with four or more rental units.

“Most people who are investing in Saint John are investing in multi-family properties,” he says. “This is because they want to earn an income.”

Unfurnished units tend to rent out for about $600 a month, says MacDonald. This amount increases to $800 if the landlord provides the tenant with utilities.

Looking ahead

Stability is one of many elements that buyers consider before parking their money somewhere, and Saint John offers that for those looking to invest. The market and its tax rates are expected to remain relatively stable, and that trend could continue going forward.

“I expect [the tax rates] to stay the same in the immediate future, just because our economy is not performing well at the moment,” adds MacDonald.

“Any increase, in my opinion, would not be a benefit to attract new people here.”

The real estate market may follow the same trend as the tax rates, but a slight increase to the average prices could occur. If this does happen, it likely won’t serve as a deterrent to the interest of investors.

Population: 70,063 (2011)
Property tax rate: 0.01785%
Average price: $165,622
Average rent: $800 (four-plex)
Vacancy rate: 12%

Find out more about the Saint John market using CREW's free online investment hotspot tool

This article was originally published in the June 2014 issue of Canadian Real Estate Wealth magazine

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