Nova Scotia

Residential property assessments up sharply in Nova Scotia

Residential property assessments are up significantly across Nova Scotia, particularly in municipalities with hot real estate markets.

'It's the largest jump we've seen in quite a long time'

Residential assessments are up by 18.8 per cent in the town of Lunenburg. (Emma Davie/CBC)

Residential property assessments are up significantly across Nova Scotia, particularly in municipalities with hot real estate markets.

"It's the largest jump we've seen in quite a long time," said Lloyd MacLeod, the acting director of the Property Valuation Services Corporation, which evaluates properties in the province.

Residential assessments across the province increased by 10.8 per cent overall to $99.6 billion.

In Halifax, the residential assessment roll was up by 13.4 per cent.

The municipal councillor for Cole Harbour said she's heard from a few people who are upset.

'That causes fear'

"One resident said their assessed value had increased by nearly 100 per cent," said Trish Purdy. "That's a significant increase. That causes fear."

Purdy is letting people know they can appeal their assessments. Assessment appeals have to be made by Feb. 10.

Residential assessments are up by 18.8 per cent in the town of Lunenburg.

"I think it's indicative of a lot of demand for housing in Lunenburg and I hope people take that message away from this," said Mayor Matt Risser.

With a 20.6 per cent hike, 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), Municipality of the District of East Hants (11.2) and Berwick (11.15) were the others above 11 per cent.

Trend expected to continue

Since 2022 property assessments are based on sales done in 2020, and the hot real estate market only began in the last half of the year, officials expect the upward trend to continue.

The province does put 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 per cent, the highest amount since it's been based on CPI.

The cap benefits longtime residents. But it's lifted when a house is sold or if there are significant renovations, and doesn't apply to new construction.

Patty Cuttell, the councillor for Spryfield-Sambro Loop-Prospect Road, is not a fan.

Cuttell said she has heard from 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 the inequities with this big increase in the market," Cuttell said.

Commercial assessment flat

Commercial assessments in the province are flat. They are only up by 1.3 per cent overall to $25.1 billion.

COVID-19 has had some impact, particularly in the accommodations industry. But there are other reasons.

"The retail sector has been soft for the last couple of years even before COVID because people are doing more online shopping," said MacLeod.

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

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