Lit­tle change in as­sessed home val­ues across prov­ince

Mu­nic­i­pal as­sess­ments are out in the mail, with no ma­jor shock in store for most home­own­ers

The Labradorian - - Puzzles - BY DAVID MA­HER

Home­own­ers in New­found­land and Labrador shouldn’t ex­pect to see large changes in res­i­den­tial tax­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased by the Mu­nic­i­pal Assess­ment Agency.

The prov­ince as a whole saw home val­ues in­crease by 1.1 per cent, sug­gest­ing a stag­nant hous­ing mar­ket across the prov­ince.

“We’re see­ing a min­i­mal change in val­ues, that’s the re­al­ity,” said Sean Mar­tin, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Mu­nic­i­pal Assess­ment Agency.

“Val­ues, res­i­den­tially, are down just a tick, but the new con­struc­tion and ren­o­va­tions have man­aged to re­place that money, if you will. Over­all, it’s pretty flat.”

The to­tal value of homes across the prov­ince grew to $34.5 bil­lion in the most re­cent round, up by about $400 mil­lion in 2018.

Home val­ues are as­sessed by the agency on a three-year ba­sis. In 2016, when the pre­vi­ous as­sess­ments were done, the over­all value of homes in the prov­ince jumped by around $9 bil­lion. The most re­cent as­sess­ments show­ing no ma­jor jump or de­cline re­veals a more or less stag­nant hous­ing mar­ket across the prov­ince, says Mar­tin.

“The mar­ket ac­tiv­ity is down. There’s less sales tak­ing place, if we’re look­ing his­tor­i­cally,” he said.

“Prices have not been dra­mat­i­cally af­fected, that’s the piece here. The higher-value prop­er­ties might see a bit of a de­cline. The new con­struc­tions are build­ing homes in a sweet-spot in the mar­ket – depend­ing on where you are in the prov­ince – be­tween $175,000 and $325,000 in value.”

The home val­ues in the cur­rent round of as­sess­ments show what each home was worth on Jan. 1, 2017 and will re­main at around that level un­til the next round of as­sess­ments in three years.

Of all the homes as­sessed by the agency, the num­ber of homes in­creas­ing in value and de­creas­ing is about even, with 43.3 per cent see­ing an in­crease in value and 42.1 per cent see­ing their val­ues go down. The re­main­ing homes will see no dif­fer­ence on their home val­ues.

Look­ing re­gion-to-re­gion, the area with the largest home value de­crease is Labrador, where the over­all val­ues of homes will see a 10.9 per cent de­crease.

Mar­tin says that de­crease is largely driven by a huge change in Labrador West, where some home val­ues will see a 40 to 50 per cent drop in their value. Else­where in Labrador, home val­ues in­creased by eight or nine per cent, over­all.

Those changes are at­trib­uted to the shut­down of the Wabush Mines project, though re­cent de­vel­op­ments could see the mines restart, which could spell an in­crease in val­ues dur­ing the next round of as­sess­ments.

Large fluc­tu­a­tions in home val­ues in ar­eas depend­ing on nat­u­ral re­sources aren’t rare, though Mar­tin says the changes in Labrador West are the largest since the 1980s.

Wabush Mayor Ron Bar­ron was un­avail­able for com­ment on Tues­day, though he agreed to fol­low up.

Mu­nic­i­pal taxes

The assess­ment agency has no say in what the mill rate is for in­di­vid­ual mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, but rather pro­vides the home value data for mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to make their own changes.

The Town of Par­adise, for ex­am­ple, is ex­pect­ing to see a 2.2 per cent over­all de­crease in tax rev­enue as a re­sult of the new as­sessed val­ues — rep­re­sent­ing about $660,000 less for the town.

Res­i­den­tial val­ues have gone down by five per cent, over­all, while com­mer­cial val­ues have in­creased by nine per cent, over­all.

A spokesper­son for the town says the bud­getary process is un­der­way and de­ci­sions on how the town will make up for that short­fall will be spec­i­fied closer to the re­lease of the town bud­get, ex­pected in early De­cem­ber.

The num­bers pro­vided to The Tele­gram re­flect trends on a large scale. Mar­tin was un­able to com­ment on spe­cific mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and whether or not res­i­dents can ex­pect to see in­creases to their home val­ues and there­fore po­ten­tial for mu­nic­i­pal tax bill in­creases.

In 2016, when home as­sess­ments saw a large jump, Mar­tin says, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties took a con­ser­va­tive ap­proach to changes to tax bills. Over­all, Mar­tin says res­i­dents saw an av­er­age in­crease of $50 a year to their tax bill in 2016, so he doesn’t an­tic­i­pate any huge swing in taxes one way or the other, though in­di­vid­ual cases will vary.

If one were to gauge whether their own mu­nic­i­pal­ity will see in­creases or de­creases in over­all home value, Mar­tin says to take a look around to de­ter­mine how many new homes have been built or ren­o­vated for a clue on whether the town’s over­all home val­ues will see a change, on av­er­age.

“We’re very thank­ful for him.” Jenny Seaward

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.