The value of residential properties in the Halifax region is rising by 3.6 per cent in 2020, one of the largest increases in the province and one that is driving the biggest year-over-year assessment bump in Nova Scotia in five years.
Lloyd MacLeod, senior valuation manager for provincial assessment organization Property Valuation Services Corporation, said the increase is due in large part to the construction of new homes.
The value of the new buildings is adding to the municipality’s total assessment value, as well as driving up the assessed value of existing homes.
“The housing market and new construction in the housing market and residential apartments and condos is mostly driving that market in the Halifax area,” he said in a telephone interview. “Overall, the market outside Halifax is relatively flat, much like it has been the last number of years.”
Overall, residential values across Nova Scotia have increased 2.9 per cent from 2019. Commercial properties are up 1.2 per cent, less than last year’s 1.5 per cent increase.
Residential properties across Nova Scotia have an assessed value of $86.7 billion in 2020. Commercial real estate is worth $24.6 billion, up from $24.3 billion last year.
Guysborough hit hard
MacLeod characterized the commercial sector as relatively stable.
But that’s not the case in two municipalities that are bearing the brunt of the shutdown of the Sable Offshore gas project.
The Municipality of the District of Guyborough will have to deal with the loss of 30 per cent of its commercial tax base, and the Municipality of the County of Richmond is facing a six per cent loss of its commercial assessment value this year.
Guysborough has been hit by the closing of the Sable Offshore Energy Project gas plant in Goldboro, while Richmond has lost the project’s fractionation plant in Point Tupper.
Guyborough’s commercial assessment value was 175.6 million in 2019. It dropped $53.5 million to $122 million in 2020.
Property value changes don’t mean an automatic increase or decrease in property or commercial taxes. Municipalities set tax rates based on assessment changes and those rates determines whether taxes go up or down.