News release

Strong Real Estate Market Indicates Economic Growth--Southern Region

SERVICE N.S./MUNICIPAL RELATIONS--Strong Real Estate Market Indicates Economic Growth--Southern Region


Nova Scotia’s strong and growing real estate market is once again evidence that overall, the province continues to prosper, according to preliminary assessment figures from Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

Proposed assessments for 2002, based on January 2000 market value, show values are up by $946 million or an average of two per cent. Residential property values are up by $782 million or 2.5 percent and commercial property values increased by $165 million or 1.3 per cent.

Overall, the real estate market in the Southern Region has experienced some growth, particularly in the residential assessment. Proposed assessments for this region show a residential increase of more than $156 million or 3.8 per cent, and an increase in commercial assessment of $11 million or 0.8 per cent.

"We use internationally accepted standards consistently across the province to ensure fairness and accuracy,” says regional manager Vernon Oakley. "Assessments are valued using market data like real estate sales, building permits and information provided by property owners.”
“We continue our dialogue with property owners throughout the year, especially when we release the formal assessment notices in January, and the proposed assessment notices approximately mid- year,” he continues.

Approximately 95,000 proposed assessment notices will be mailed across the province today. The mailing goes only to owners whose property assessment increase by three or more per cent over last year.

“For the 2002 preliminary assessment, we analysed sales that gave us the information needed to determine market value in this area,” said Mr. Oakley.

The other biggest increase for residential property is in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), where assessments are up $486 million or 3.5 per cent. Commercial assessments for all areas experienced little change with the exception of a 2.8 per cent increase in HRM and a 1.3 per cent decrease in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

The department started issuing proposed assessments in 1996 to give property owners several months in which to ask questions. Official notices go out in January.

"We encourage people to contact us to talk about their property values," explained Mr. Oakley. "Since we introduced proposed assessments five years ago, appeals of the year-end assessments have continuously decreased, even though property values have been increasing for many areas."

Internationally accepted standards and principles are applied by professional staff who carefully calculate property market values every year. Annual assessments, coupled with proposed notices like those issued today, deliver an assessment roll to municipalities that is a fair and accurate reflection of market values.

Assessment rolls are used by municipalities to determine property taxes. Each municipality sets its own rate.

"This year''s proposed assessments reflect Jan. 1, 2000 market data, including an analysis of all sales, building permits and other information," said Mr. Oakley. "It''s important to note that the real estate market differs from community to community across the province and this data allows us to reflect those differences."

Property owners are encouraged to call the department’s toll-free information line regardless of whether they receive a proposed assessment (1-800-667-5727 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday) or contact their local assessment office to meet with an assessor.

“The main question you should ask yourself when you receive an assessment notice is, ‘Does this assessment reflect approximately what my house could have sold for in January of 2000?’” explained Mr. Oakley.

This year, market trend information is available on the department’s Web site at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr.


FOR BROADCAST USE

Nova Scotia’s real estate market is strong and growing.

Proposed figures to be used in provincial assessments next

year show residential and commercial property values increased by

close to one billion dollars, or an average of two per cent, over

this year’s figures.

Combined residential and commerical assessments for the

Southern Region are up just over three per cent.

The largest increases in residential property values are in

Halifax Regional Municipality and the Southern Region.

Service Nova Scotia assessment officials attribute the

growth to Nova Scotia’s strong economy.

About 95-thousand Nova Scotians whose property increased by

three per cent or more will receive proposed notices.

A toll-free number is available for anyone wanting

additional information -- 1-800-667-5727.

-30-

Contact:

Robyn McIsaac
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations 902-424-6336 E-mail:

Note to Editors:


A chart displaying the decline in assessment appeals and the overall increase in assessed property values will be available after 4 p.m. today at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/asmt/ .

kjd            June 14, 2001       3:15 P.M.