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October 11, 2006

Edmonton Taxes Will go up Less Than House Values

Rumour has it that Edmonton property taxes will go up by about 7% next year. Personally, I think the city should hike them higher. Compared to other cities I've lived in the city services are below average, and with the economy the way it is Edmonton should be over delivering, not under delivering.... Here is the article by Frank Landry from the Sun:

City property owners can breathe a small sigh of relief.

While city hall estimates home values in Edmonton have skyrocketed an average 30% over the past year, it doesn't mean next year's property taxes will go up at the same rate.

"The answer is no," said city assessor Stan Dilworth.

Municipalities use a complicated formula when calculating property tax.

The city first figures out how much money it will need to operate in the coming year.

Officials then figure out how much they'll have to charge property owners to get that money.

Right now, city officials are expected to ask for an overall tax hike of 7% or more when the draft budget is released Nov. 2.

That means, despite a much greater increase in home values, the average property owner in Edmonton will pay 7% more in taxes next year.

Edmontonians whose properties went up more than the average will end up paying more than the 7%. Those whose values went down will likely end up paying less, Dilworth said.

Any tax increase must still be approved by council.

The average single-family house in Edmonton sold for $322,000 last month - an increase of nearly 49% from one year earlier, according to the Edmonton Real Estate Board. The average condo went for $212,000 - a 54% increase.

The city assesses homes based on what officials believe their market value is on July 1 of any given year. Those numbers don't necessarily match real estate board figures.

Dilworth said preliminary figures show increases in the "high 20s or low 30s."

"What's happened in the last few months exceeds anything in my 32 years of assessment experience," he said.


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