News release

Strong Real Estate Market Indicates Economic Growth in Northern Region

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


Increased property values in most parts of the province reflect a continuing strong and growing real estate market in Nova Scotia. Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations' proposed assessment figures for 2003, based on January 2001 market value, show that values are up by $1.23 billion, or just over 2.5 per cent. Residential property values are up by $1.01 billion, or 3.16 per cent, and commercial property values increased by $222 million, or 1.67 per cent.

Just over 116,000 property owners will receive a proposed assessment notice. The mailing goes to owners whose property assessments increased by more than three per cent over last year. Proposed notices allow property owners to make inquiries about their assessments before the formal assessment sent in January.

"By sending a proposed assessment notice to property owners who will see an increase of more than three per cent, we allow property owners to evaluate their assessment and ask questions," said Kathy Gillis, director of Assessment Operations. "The main question property owners should ask themselves is, 'Does this assessment reflect approximately what my house could have sold for in January of 2001?'"

Property assessments in Nova Scotia are based on market value, a system used in over 128 countries around the world.

"Information like real estate sales, building permits and information provided by property owners determine the value," said Ms. Gillis. "The market-value approach allows the same appraisal standards and principles to be applied to all residential properties across Nova Scotia."

Issuing a proposed notice reduces the number of formal appeals, which can be time-consuming and expensive for the province.

"Since we started sending proposed notices in 1997, appeals have decreased significantly," said Ms. Gillis. "In 1997 more than 27,000 Nova Scotians launched an appeal. Last year, fewer than 11,000 appealed their assessments."

The real estate market in the northern area of the province continues to grow. The urban areas surrounding New Glasgow, Truro, Amherst and Elmsdale show the most activity. Overall proposed assessments for the northern region show a residential increase of over $106 million, or 2.3 per cent, while commercial increases are $18 million, or 0.9 per cent. Assessment values are used by municipalities to determine property taxes. Each municipality sets its own rate.

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

Property owners can get information about their 2003 proposed assessment by calling the department's toll-free information line 1-800-667-5727 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Property owners can also look up their assessment at the market trend section of the Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Web site, at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/asmt.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotia's real estate market is strong and growing. Provincial residential and commercial property values increased by 1.2-billion dollars, or an average of 2.65 per cent, over last year.

An increase in population, demand for housing, demand for office and retail space and low interest rates all contribute to a strong real estate market in many areas of Nova Scotia.

About 116-thousand Nova Scotians whose property increased by more than three per cent will receive a notice of proposed assessment.

Property owners can get information about their 2003 proposed assessment by calling the department's toll-free information line 1-800-667-5727 during regular office hours. They can also look up their assessment on the department's Web site (www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/asmt ).

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Contact:

David MacNeil
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations 902-424-6336 E-mail:
njm            June 7, 2002        2:15 P.M.