Property Assessment

What is property assessment?

Property assessment is the process of estimating the market value of your property for municipal and education taxation purposes.  Assessment is simply a distribution mechanism. The property taxes that you pay are calculated in proportion to the value of the real estate you own.  Qualified assessors prepare annual assessments for all property within your municipality.  These representatives are dedicated to providing a fair and accurate assessments for taxpayers.

Market Value

What is market value?

Market value is the valuation standard set by provincial legislation and is the basis for property valuation across Alberta. Market value is the probable price your property could sell for in a competitive and open market, as of a given date. Market value is recognized as the most understandable, transparent and objective measure of a property’s worth.

The market value as shown on your 2017 Assessment and Taxation notice is based on a legislated valuation date of July 1, 2016 and reflects the physical condition of your property as of Dec 31, 2016.

What affects market value?

Factors such as the size of the property, location of the property, condition of the property, improvements made to the home such as basement development, additions and kitchen upgrades as well as economic conditions all affect the market value.

How do home renovations/improvements affect my taxes?

A significant improvement to a property generally increases its market value and its assessed value because your assessment is based on market value. Improvements such as a new addition, new garage, or new basement development will increase your property assessment. Interior renovations or modernization may increase your assessment depending on the extent to which the market value has been enhanced.

Some improvements will not affect your assessment. Currently, the Assessment Department does not increase your assessment for the new construction of trees and landscaping, fencing, sidewalks, patios, decks, driveways or small garden sheds.

My neighbour’s property seems very similar to mine, yet is assessed higher/lower than my property. Why?

There are a number of factors that can affect the value of properties that may not be evident at first glance. Differences can include:

  • Lot Size and Lot Influences (traffic, park, walk-out lot) – Are there differences between your lot and your neighbor’s?
  • House Type – Is the house you are comparing to the same type as yours? Common types are bungalow, two-storey and split level. Structure type will affect the value.
  • House Size – Is the house you are comparing to the same size as yours? Size has a direct influence on value.
  • Age & Condition – Are the homes of a similar year built & condition?
  • Basement Development – Does the house you are comparing to have a finished or unfinished basement? Does it have a walk-out basement?
  • Garage/Carport – Does the property have a garage? Similar size?
  • Renovations & Quality – Does the property have a similar quality of interior/exterior finish?

Determining Market Value

How is market value determined?

Market value assessments are prepared using mass appraisal. This is the process of valuing a group of properties as of a given date, using standard methods and allowing for statistical testing. For residential property, assessors compile, review and analyze information from all legitimate real estate sale transactions that have occurred in your municipality over a 3 year period prior to the valuation date. This process results in the estimated value of your property as of July 1, 2016.

How are residential and condominium properties assessed?

The primary valuation method used to value residential and condominium properties is the sales comparison approach. Your property is compared to similar properties that have recently been sold. Factors such as size, location, quality, condition and date of sale are taken into consideration.

Why is the assessed value of my home different from today’s market value?

Your assessment is based on a very specific valuation date of July 1, 2016, as required by provincial legislation. Your Assessment and Taxation Notice is typically mailed up to 1 year after this valuation date. Substantial increases or decreases based on real estate market conditions can occur to the value of properties between these two dates. Any sales activity or change in home prices occurring after July 1, 2016 is not reflected in this assessment, but will form the basis for next year’s assessment.

An Assessor can provide comparable property sales information that can assist in determining whether your assessment is fair and equitable.

What if I feel my assessment is incorrect?

If you have questions concerning your property assessment, or you feel that your assessment is not accurate you should do the following:

  • Contact the assessor via our inquiry form or toll free 1-888-419-2128 to get more information on how your assessment was determined or to compare with properties that are similar to your own.
  • Talk to an assessor. If the information used to value your property is in error, the assessor may be able to make a correction to your assessment without a formal appeal being filed.
  • If after speaking with an assessor, you still feel that your assessment does not accurately reflect the market value of your property as of July 1, 2016 you may appeal your assessment. Please refer to the reverse side of your Assessment and Tax Notice for details regarding how to appeal.

Non-Residential Assessment

How are non-residential properties assessed?

The primary valuation method used to value non-residential properties (such as shopping centres, office buildings, and warehouses), is the income approach. Market value is based on the rental income generating capability of the property. Rental income, operating expenses, maintenance costs and capitalization rates are analyzed to determine the market value.

Other methods used to value commercial property include the sales comparison approach and the depreciated cost approach.

Please contact our commercial assessor via our inquiry form or toll free 1-888-419-2128 to get more information and discuss any questions regarding valuation.