Tax reassessments see riverside home values jump

January 10, 2017 - 1:25pm
City Assessor Darcy Huisman says property values increased city-wide, reflecting Saskatoon's strong economy in 2015, when the values were assessed.
Chris Vandenbreekel/650 CKOM
City Assessor Darcy Huisman says property values increased city-wide, reflecting Saskatoon's strong economy in 2015, when the values were assessed.

People living in some of Saskatoon's oldest neighbourhoods could be looking at higher tax hikes than the rest of the city in 2017.

The City of Saskatoon's reassessments of home values were unveiled for the tax year on Monday.

The assessments, made with market information available as of Jan. 1, 2015, will determine each property owner's tax burden for the year.

Residential properties have seen their values increase by an average of 12 per cent since the last assessment, but six neighbourhoods had value spikes over 20 per cent.

Those neighbourhoods include Riversdale at 26 per cent, Nutana and Varsity View at 25 per cent, King George at 22 per cent and City Park and Mount Royal coming in at 21 per cent.

"These increases... really speak to the economy leading up to the assessment," said City Assessor Darcy Huisman.

"It was healthy, strong, and vibrant. There was lots of gentrification and rejuvenation going on in those neighbourhoods."

'Revenue neutral'

Huisman emphasized the value increases don't represent the percentage tax increase for each property owner.

She said the city operates on a "revenue neutral" basis, meaning they'll only bring in as much money as the 2017 municipal budget requires, despite most properties rising in value.

Homes that saw value increases below the 12 per cent average increases could see their bills go down. According to assessment data, 42 per cent of homes will see a property tax decrease.

However, homeowners whose properties saw value spikes of more than 12 per cent will have to pay more than they did last year.

Huisman said, however, the majority of homeowners won't see a difference of more than 10 per cent either way on their tax bill.

"We didn't see large, substantial swings in different neighbourhoods like we did (in 2013)," she said.

The last time values were re-assessed, residential property values rose by an average of 83 per cent.

Business owners expected to challenge

While home values have seen a respectable increase since the last round of assessments, apartment buildings and commercial properties have seen an even higher increase.

Multi-unit residential properties saw an average increase of 36 per cent, while commercial properties rose in value by an average of 36 per cent.

Huisman said they expect between 400 and 500 appeals to property assessments, mostly from business owners.

"They feel that their property value is incorrect... that it should be lower," she said.

It's unknown how many appeals are successful.

Those who do appeal have to prove the value of their property would have been lower as of Jan. 1, 2015. Provincial legislation prohibits the use of market data beyond that date for this year's reassessment.

Calculating your bill

The city has created an online tool and business owners to review their own assessments, and to calculate their new tax bill. The system can also be used to view market values of homes in different neighbourhoods.