News Release Archive

Earlier this month the Department of Housing and Municipal
Affairs announced that the province will move to yearly
reassessments and that property owners will get an advance look
at their assessments. Trending information released at that time
showed that total residential assessments in the Halifax region
would increase.

This week the department released additional trending data to the
Halifax Regional Municipality which details the total residential
assessment will increase by approximately $900 million, from
$10.9 billion in 1996 to about 11.8 billion in 1997. Total
commercial assessments will decrease from $ 5.8 billion to about
$5.6 billion - a total decrease of about $196 million.

In terms of total residential values, the Halifax County area of
the regional municipality will see the largest increase, from
$4.3 billion in 1996 to approximately $4.9 billion in 1997.
Halifax City area is next, with an increase from $4.2 billion to
about $4.4 billion. Dartmouth area properties follow as
residential values rise from $1.9 billion to approximately $2
billion, with Bedford properties showing the smallest increase,
from $569 million to about $617 million.

"These changes are occurring because residential properties had
previously reflected values as of 1988 - in other words, they
reflect changes in market values over a seven year period," said
John MacKay, executive director of assessment services for the
Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

On the commercial property side, the largest decline in the
region will occur in Halifax City, where total assessments will
drop from $3.3 billion in 1996 to about $3.2 billion in 1997.
Dartmouth will see a drop of $1.4 billion to $1.3 billion and
Bedford about $189 million to $183 million. Halifax County will
experience an increase in total commercial assessments from $867
million to about $881 million.

"Commercial properties reflect a decline in property values from
1991 to 1995," said MacKay.

By comparison, provincial assessment figures show total
residential assessments increased from 1996 to 1997, from $24.3
billion to approximately $27.3 billion - an increase of
approximately $3 billion. Total provincial commercial assessments
for 1996 were $11.5 billion compared to approximately $11.4
billion for 1997 - a decrease of about $109 million.

The final property assessment roll, which will be used by
municipalities to set 1997 tax rates, will be released in January
of 1997. In the future, new assessments will be completed for
both residential and commercial properties each year to provide a
more accurate reflection of current market trends.

"This is the first time proposed assessments have been sent out
in advance and it's designed to allow property owners to come and
talk to us," Mr. MacKay said.

In the event property owners have questions about their
assessments, they will have an opportunity to review the
assessment with a provincial assessor without going through a
formal appeal process.

The advance notice of assessments also benefits municipalities.
It gives municipalities a good idea of what properties in their
area are worth so they can better plan for the 1997-98 fiscal
year. Municipalities use assessments to ensure property owners
pay their fair share of the property tax.

In an effort to provide greater customer service to Nova Scotian
ratepayers, the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs is
encouraging anyone with a question about the new yearly
assessment process to call toll free, 1-800-667-5727.


Contact: Michelle Whelan  902-424-6336

         John MacKay      902-424-5671

trp                     June 26, 1996 - 1:00 p.m.