'Slowing economy' blamed for decline in Edmonton property values

The value of most properties in Edmonton this year is lower because of what the city calls “a reflection of a slowing economy.” Property assessment notices are being mailed this week.

'Most property owners will see a modest decrease in their property assessments this year'

Most property assessments in Edmonton have decreased slightly because of the slowing economy, the City of Edmonton says. (CBC)

The values of most properties in Edmonton are down this year because of what the city calls "a reflection of a slowing economy."

Property assessment notices are being mailed out this week.

"Over the past few months, assessors have been reviewing all the sales in the city of Edmonton and have noticed this downward trend in all our property types," said Rod Risling, assessment and taxation branch manager.

"Between the summer of 2015 and the summer of 2016, economic conditions have remained soft."

Among those economic conditions are the low oil price and the fact that there are more homes on the market.

The city uses what is called a "market-value" method to determine assessments. Most property types saw a decrease in assessed values as of July 1, 2016, the date they were recorded, the city said.

A typical single-family detached home decreased by 2.7 per cent, from $408,000 to $397,000.

A typical condominium, townhouse or duplex decreased by 2.3 per cent.

Apartment buildings decreased by 9.7 per cent on average, while commercial and industrial properties decreased by 4.9 per cent.

Neighbourhood ups and downs

Neighbourhoods that saw assessed values increase the most include Central McDougall (up 12 per cent),) Boyle Street (up 10.2 per cent,) Queen Mary Park (up 6.8 per cent,) Oliver (up 6.7 per cent) and Kensington (up 5.6 per cent.)

The largest decreases were in Rural North East Horse Hill (down 16 per cent,) Skyrattler (down 6.1 per cent,) Terrace Heights (down 5.9 per cent. Patricia Heights and Queen Alexandra both saw values decline by 5.8 per cent.

"Every year, the assessors review the sales that have occurred in these neighbourhoods," said Risling. "At the end of the day, we reflect what the market tells us."

He said some neighbourhoods that saw the biggest changes are quite small.

"Three of the five neighbourhoods have less than a hundred homes," he said. "There's not a lot of homes. So depending on the sales, that can have a big effect on the value of the homes in that area."

In non-residential properties, the largest decrease was seen in downtown offices, which saw an eight-per-cent decline in assessed value. Industrial properties saw a six-per-cent drop in assessed value.

The total value of all 388,000 assessed properties in Edmonton is now $170.3 billion — $115.6 billion in residential properties and the remainder in non-residential and apartment buildings. Last year, the total assessed value of all properties was $172.3 billion.

Property taxes account for about $1.5 billion, or 57 per cent, of the city's $2.6-billion total operating budget.

Municipal tax bill for typical home will be $2,385

The city estimates the owner of a single-family detached home assessed at $397,000 will pay $2,385 in municipal property taxes this year. That's an increase of about $7 a month. The provincial education tax portion of the tax bill won't be set until April. Tax bills will be mailed May 23 and payments are due June 30.

Risling cautioned residents not to make the mistake of thinking that because their property values have gone down, their property taxes will do the same.

"If your home declined 2.7 per cent, you'll see the average tax increase," he said. "If you saw an increase in the value of your home, you'll see a tax increase greater than what council approved in December."

Risling said all property owners are encouraged to review their assessment notices carefully.

"If there's something in there that doesn't seem to jibe with what you see in the house, we can certainly make that adjustment," he said. "And there's no complaint fee. It's just a simple phone call to us. Someone will go out and take a look and make the change."

Residents who feel their notices don't reflect market value as of July 1, 2016, or who have incorrect notices, should contact the city as soon as possible. The deadline for making a formal complaint with the assessment review board is March 13, 2017.