Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia homes selling for well below asking price

A real estate organization says a significant number of homes in Nova Scotia are selling for less than their assessed value.

'I've sold houses for $100,000 less than their assessment,' says head of realtors association

The president of the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors says he has sold homes in Sydney for $100,000 less than assessed. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

A real estate organization says a significant number of homes in Nova Scotia are selling for less than their assessed value.

"I've sold houses for $100,000 less than their assessment," said Roger Sanford, president of the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors.

According to the Viewpoint.ca real estate web site, in Sydney, one home assessed at $81,400 sold for $25,000. Another house was assessed at $76,000 and sold for $30,000. A third home was assessed at $69,600 and sold for $35,000.

Sanford says those are examples of the type of houses that are often over-assessed.

The Property Valuation Services Corporation determines assessments in Nova Scotia.

Assessment appeal

"You'll find that that was a house that wasn't updated. It's not going to have all the modern technology in it so it's not going to be worth the price that it's assessed at," he said.

Sanford says many people don't appeal when their assessment is higher than it should be.

"A lot of people don't understand and they think that if it's assessed higher ... it's worth more money and they have never yet found out that it's not. So basically they are paying too much taxes on it for a few years."

Sanford advises people to see what similar homes in their neighbourhood are selling for and appeal their assessment if it's too high.

Markets getting flat

Senior manager of the Property Valuation Services Corporation Mike Musycsyn says the corporation has always used real estate sales data that is two years old as the basis for its assessments.

That means changes in the market are not reflected in assessments for two years.

This year Musycsyn says, the PSAC has moved to using data that is one-year-old.

"The sales data that we use for the 2016 reassessment showed that the markets are getting a little flat. They are not as strong as they were previous years," he said.

Musyscyn says the good news is those flat markets should be reflected in many of the new assessments.

About the Author

Joan Weeks

Reporter

Joan Weeks has been a reporter with CBC in Sydney for over a decade. Many of her stories are investigative with a focus on government spending and accountability, as well as health and economic issues important to Cape Breton.