The average Ottawa homeowner will see a meagre increase in property values this year compared to the rest of the province.
According to the city’s new property assessments – which the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) started mailing out to residents on Monday – Ottawa’s average home value increased by 3.45 per cent over four years. That amounts to a 0.86 per cent annual increase.
It’s peanuts compared to the provincial average – an 18 per cent hike.
"Being a government town, there is a tentative market here due to election talk and government influence, which is not uncommon in Ottawa," said Andrew Loney, director of valuation with MPAC.
When MPAC mailed out its last home assessments in 2012, Ottawa saw a 25.9 per cent jump in home values. Big jumps are not uncommon in large cities, said Mr. Loney.
MPAC assesses more than five million homes in Ontario. The major factors that play into a home value are location, lot dimensions, the living area, age, and quality of construction.
Those who think their homes were unfairly assessed can apply for reconsideration, but they are on a tighter deadline this year. Applications must be sent in by Nov. 15 – rather than March 31 of next year. More information is available on the individual home assessment forms.
Mr. Loney said homeowners should ask themselves if their properties could have sold for their assessed values on Jan. 1 of this year.
"If the answer is yes, then there’s no further action that’s required," he said. "If not, then we are committed to working with them to get it right."
Less than three per cent of homeowners across Ontario applied for reconsideration in 2012 and about half were successful.
‘Hot market’ in Kitchissippi
Kitchissippi residents have a booming market to thank for the spike in their home values, according to city officials.
The average Kitchissippi home value increased by 7.35 per cent between 2012 and 2016, according to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) figures.
"It’s really a hot market," said deputy city treasurer Wendy Stephanson, pointing out hip neighbourhoods like Hintonburg and Westboro during a technical briefing about the assessments on Monday.
Meanwhile, Somerset ward will see its property values plummet by an average of 0.21 per cent. That’s because there’s a condo boom in that neighbourhood. Citywide, condo values decreased by an average of five per cent.
"With more inventory, with more options, it’s putting some downward pressure on some of the older units within the city," said Mr. Loney.
All the home value changes will be phased in year over year – at a citywide average of 0.86 per cent more per year. Those values that dropped, however, will see an immediate assessment reduction, with no phase-in.
So what does this mean for your tax bill?
Property values that spiked on par with the city average should not see any tax impact. Those below the average will see a drop on their tax bills, while those above will see an increase.
This article originally appeared on metronews.ca on July 18.