News release

Southern Region Residential Assessment Roll Up By Less Than Four Per Cent

SERVICE N.S./MUNICIPAL RELATIONS--Southern Region Residential Assessment Roll Up By Less Than Four Per Cent


More than 537,000 assessment notices are in the mail today to Nova Scotia property owners. Provincially, total property assessments are up by 5.5 per cent for residential properties and by two per cent for commercial properties, to a total of $50.3 billion.

"The increase in many residential property values is a reflection of a strengthening economy, and the corresponding strengthening real estate market in many parts of the province," said Peter Christie, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

The minister said the numbers reflect an increase in what buyers have been paying for existing residential properties as well as new home construction.

In the Southern Region of Nova Scotia, which includes Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne and Yarmouth counties, total residential assessment values are up by 3.8 per cent to more than $4.5 billion. Total commercial assessment increased by 1.6 per cent to more than $1.4 billion. The 2003 property assessments are based on market value at Jan. 1, 2001.

"Market value is the most widely accepted and understood approach to property assessment. Every province in Canada uses the market value system as do most assessment jurisdictions in the United States and 127 other countries," said Vernon Oakley, regional manager for the Southern Regional Assessment Office.
"The market value approach to assessment is popular because it is the most equitable system of property assessment available. Under this approach, property values are determined objectively and transparently and they're easily understood," he said.

Each year the assessment services division reassesses all properties in Nova Scotia to establish an estimate of fair-market value. Factors used to determine assessments include analysis of sales, building permits, local market conditions, depreciation, renovations and new construction. Values are tested for statistical validity using internationally accepted assessment standards.

Property owners wanting to know more about assessment can access information through the department's Web site at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/asmt .

"People can look up assessed values by their assessment account number, by location or by using a map. Not everyone has Internet access, so property owners can also get answers to their assessment questions by calling our toll-free number at 1-800- 667-5727," said Mr. Oakley.

Many property owners won't be surprised by their assessment notice. Last summer, preliminary notices were mailed to all property owners whose proposed assessment for 2003 was expected to increase by more than three per cent.

"Sending out the proposed notices gave property owners a six- month period during which they could speak with us informally about their assessment. We had almost 5,000 inquiries from across Nova Scotia," said Mr. Oakley.

Property owners who disagree with their assessment have the opportunity to appeal.

"Property owners should ask themselves if their assessment is a reflection of market value," said Mr. Oakley. "If they don't think it is, they may appeal."

All appeals must be filed no later than midnight, Feb. 3, 2003. Once an appeal is received, an assessor will review the property valuation and then notify the property owner with the result of the review. Property owners who wish to continue the appeal to the Regional Assessment Appeal Court must respond to the review notice in writing within seven days.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Assessment notices are in the mail to Nova Scotia property owners today (January 13th).

Residential property assessments are up five-and-a-half per cent across the province. Commercial properties are up two per cent.

Peter Christie, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, said the growth in assessments reflects the province's strengthening economy and a strong real estate market in many parts of Nova Scotia.

Property owners who disagree with their assessment have until February 3 to appeal.

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Contact:

Vernon Oakley
Southern Regional Assessment Office 902-527-5361 E-mail: