The city’s assessment and taxation department has been taking a fresh look at your property and is now determining what its value on the open market was as of April 1, 2012. This is the second time the department is using a two-year property reassessment cycle. Previously, the assessment had been based on a four-year cycle, which made it extremely difficult for homeowners to gauge how much their home may have appreciated due to housing market conditions.
Happily for Winnipeggers, they have seen their homes go up in value over the past number of years, and the most recent two-year period from April 1, 2010 to April 1, 2012 is no different. When comparing the average sale price of all single-family homes sold on MLS® in Winnipeg in the first three months of 2010 to the same period this year, the percentage increase is 14 per cent. On an annualized basis, it works out to 10 per cent from 2010 to 2011 and four per cent from 2011 to 2012. Winnipeg is experiencing a drop off in its annual percentage increase. On the other hand, the normal increase in house prices from 2003 to 2011 was a percentage in the low-teens.
Depending on the neighbourhood in Winnipeg and the house price range (different price ranges and neighbourhoods have varying pace of sales activity and demand), a property’s increase will fall within a range of percentage determined by comparable sales close to the reference date. Assessors, as well as a REALTOR® selling a house for a client, use comparables to determine a home’s value. If you do have concerns about your new assessed value, REALTORS® appraisers, as the local market experts, can give you their own assessment based on their experience of selling and appraising homes.
One thing you must keep in mind is that property reassessment is based on a mass appraisal system, with regression analysis employed using sophisticated computer models. There are far too many properties for the assessment department to do them on an individual basis as is used by a REALTOR® to determine what a home is worth at the time a property is listed for a client. Assessors pride themselves on keeping a low margin of error, but nothing is foolproof. There will be occasions when you may be fully justified to ask questions about how they arrived at your valuation and you may want to seek out expert advice.
Below you will find a short article submitted to the Real Estate News by Winnipeg’s assessment and taxation department. The intent is to shed more light on the process undertaken and provide guidance to property owners if they have any questions.
The department has an excellent frequently asked questions section at winnipegassessment.com
It is general assessment time once again. In accordance with provincial law, the city of Winnipeg assessment and taxation department is required to assess the value of all real estate in Winnipeg using the reference date of April 1, 2012. This is done to ensure that assessment values keep pace with the changing real estate market. A reference date means: What could I have sold my property for, in the open market on April 1, 2012? The previous general assessment was based on a reference date of April 1, 2010.
Generally, there has been solid positive growth in the Winnipeg real estate market over the past two years. Based upon the market data, the department has seen an increase in value for single family residential homes ranging from an average of nine per cent to 18 per cent, depending on the area. However, it is important to remember that your assessed value is simply one part of a distribution mechanism for taxes, and that an increase in your assessed value does not mean a corresponding increase in your realty taxes.
The change in the overall assessment roll (including all property types) due to the 2014 general assessment cannot be calculated at this time, as the non-residential properties have not yet been valued. In addition, your realty tax is based upon a combination of the taxation requirements for the city, your local school division, and the education support levy (for non-residential properties). Also note that your 2014 assessment value will not be used until 2014 for realty tax billing purposes.
Residential property owners in Winnipeg will receive a preview letter about the 2014 general assessment by mail, and can also access additional assessment information through the city’s website.
As with past general assessments, the department is inviting residential property owners to speak with residential staff about the proposed 2014 market values through the Residential Review Appointment Program. The department has concluded the first review process in November and has mailed out about 112,000 preview letters. The next mailing of approximately 110,000 preview letters is scheduled for the end of February 2013.
This process provides ample opportunity for property owners to review the values prior to the issuance of the formal assessment notices, to be sent out in early June 2013. Even if you are not able to attend one of the Residential Review Appointment Program sessions, property owners can call 311 and the property owner will be contacted. Property owners are encouraged to visit winnipegassessment.com to access a wealth of information regarding the 2014 general assessment.