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Few surprises in 2019 Calgary property assessments: City

Calgary property owners should be receiving their assessment notices in the coming days, and most residential owners shouldn’t expect wild swings in their valuation, according to the city’s top assessor.

City assessor Nelson Karpa told reporters Thursday that in the residential market, the typical change was a drop of one per cent from last year, while the typical market change for non-residential property dropped by 12 per cent.

The median value on a residential homes dropped $5,000 from last year to $475,000. Likewise, the median condo value dropped $5,000 to $255,000.

The total market value for the city this year saw a drop of $5 billion, from $311 billion to $306 billion. This despite the addition of approximately 10,000 new taxable properties. There are now 532,000 tax accounts on the city’s books.

Karpa explained that much of the drop in market value was seen in the city’s office market. The typical change in value for office buildings was a drop of 32 per cent, while industrial properties only saw a drop of four per cent, and typical retail property values remained stable.

He stressed that what property owners receive in their mail this week or next is not a tax bill, but an assessment on their property’s value, which will form the basis of what one’s tax bill will be. Those bills will go out in May.

However, he did shine some light on how a homeowner’s assessment could give an indication of their pending tax bill.

The city is not legally allowed to run a deficit, and uses what’s called a revenue neutral process to determine tax bills. It means that in order to meet expenses, some property owners that saw their value increase will pick up a greater share of the overall tax burden to make up for the loss in other areas.

Karpa said if a property owner’s year-to-year change is less than the typical change (i.e, went down more than 1 per cent from last year on a residential property), then their tax bill should decrease. If their assessment is the same as the typical per cent change, then their taxes should be about the same. If their assessment is higher than the typical change, then their taxes are expected to climb.

In a first for this year, business owners will not receive a tax bill.

“There is no more business assessment and there’s no more business tax,” said Karpa.

“This year marks the completion of the phase out program where gradually over a number of years. The business tax was rolled into the non-residential property tax.”

The city also created a map showing which communities had seen overall taxes increase or decrease. Overall, values remained relatively stable, with no community seeing an overall increase or decrease of more than 10 per cent.

The city is now in the assessment reviewing period, and Karpa encouraged property owners with questions or concerns to call the city. It might mean making the city aware of substantial changes to your property in the past year, such as major renovations.

“Take a look and check the factual information about your property. It’s important for us to have factual information about your property,” he said.

“There may be things about your property that you wish to draw to our attention.”

He also suggested checking the values of properties similar to yours in your community, to make sure the values are similar.

Property owners can access the property search tool at Calgary.ca/assessment