Capital's commercial property values spike

Recent property assessment sets some increases as high as 79 per cent, but landlords, tenants must wait until next year to see impact on taxes and rent.

The value of commercial real estate in Ottawa has risen sharply according to Ontario’s Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, which recently valued a range of properties, from shopping centres to rental buildings and parking lots.

John Clark, vice president of The Regional Group, which assists commercial property owners challenge such assessments, says the average increase for established multi-residential buildings is 52 per cent.

It’s even higher for new multi-residential buildings at 79 per cent and parking lots are up 60 per cent.

"Buyers of commercial real estate have been pretty bullish over the last few years, market values have risen and the outcome is evident in this table," said Clark.

While higher assessments don’t automatically translate into higher taxes — each property is compared against a baseline increase ­— there is some concern that residential rents could increase.

John Dickie, chair of the Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization, says there is a risk the new assessments could unfairly hit rental properties, versus privately owned homes.

"What the city has done in the past, in that situation, is to adjust the tax ratios so that they avoid shifts of taxes between the classes," Dickie said.

Landlords and tenants should get a clearer idea of the assessments’ impacts by spring.