Residential property assessments rise sharply in Nova Scotia

Residential property assessments have risen significantly across Nova Scotia, especially in municipalities where real estate markets are hot.

“This is the biggest jump we’ve seen in quite a long time,” said Lloyd MacLeod, acting director of the Property Valuation Services Corporation, which appraises properties in the province.

Across the province, home assessments rose 10.8% to $99.6 billion.

In Halifax, the residential assessment roll increased by 13.4%.

The Cole Harbor councilwoman says she heard from a few disgruntled people.

“It’s scary”

“A resident said his assessed value had gone up almost 100%,” Trish Purdy said. “It’s a significant increase. It causes fear.”

Purdy lets people know they can appeal their ratings. Evaluation calls must be made before February 10th.

Residential assessments increased by 18.8% in the Town of Lunenburg.

“I think this indicates a strong demand for housing in Lunenburg and I hope people will take notice,” said Mayor Matt Risser.

With a 20.6% increase, Mahone Bay is the only municipality with a higher increase than Lunenburg. But Mahone Bay’s increase is due to the construction of a new nursing home, according to assessment officials.

Lockeport (15.94), Stewiacke (13.29), Annapolis Royal (13.03), Kentville (12.08), Wolfville (11.79), the District Municipality of East Hants (11.2) and Berwick (11.15) were the other above 11%.

The trend should continue

Given that 2022 property assessments are based on sales made in 2020 and that the hot real estate market only started in the last half of the year, officials expect the trend to the rise continues.

The province imposes a cap on assessments that limits the amount of the increase that can be taxed by municipalities.

The current cap is based on the Nova Scotia Consumer Price Index. The 2022 cap is 5.4%, the highest amount since it was based on the CPI.

The cap benefits long-time residents. But it is waived when a house is sold or if there are major renovations, and does not apply to new construction.

Spryfield-Sambro Loop-Prospect Road councilor Patty Cuttell isn’t a fan.

Cuttell said he’s heard of a resident who is going to pay several thousand dollars more in taxes than the previous owner “even though it’s the same house on the same street getting the same services.”

“I think it’s going to amplify inequality with this big increase in the market,” Cuttell said.

Commercial evaluation apartment

Business valuations in the province are stable. They rose only 1.3% overall to $25.1 billion.

COVID-19 has had some impact, especially in the accommodation sector. But there are other reasons.

“The retail sector has been weak for the past two years, even before COVID, as people shop more online,” MacLeod said.

MacLeod said the only bright spot is the industrial and manufacturing sector.

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