Edmonton’s recent recession is likely the culprit as the overall residential property assessments released Tuesday sank for the second year in a row.
Although the value of single-family detached houses rose by 0.6 per, the total for all residential locations dropped by 0.2 per cent compared to 2017, city assessment and taxation branch manager Rod Risling said.
The results were pulled down by lower values for condominiums, townhouses, duplexes and other homes, city figures show.
This followed a total 2.7 per cent decline in 2016, which Risling said is the first time he has seen a consecutive decrease.
“Disposable income has an impact on real estate values. Unemployment in the last few years has been higher than it was,” he told a news conference at City Hall.
“Obviously, it has an impact on the residential market.”
The typical detached Edmonton home was worth $399,500 on the annual assessment day last July 1, up from about $360,000 a decade ago, but down from the record $408,000 set in 2016.
The city’s most expensive neighbourhood was southwest Hays Ridge, where the average home was worth $953,000.
The owners of homes with essentially unchanged values will likely pay the 3.2 per cent city tax hike council approved in December, although the final tax rate won’t be set until May.
Properties that went up in value more than average face a larger tax increase and taxes should go down at locations where values dropped.
Property assessment notices were mailed Tuesday. Owners have until March 12 to complain through 311 or file a formal appeal.
Houses in a handful of older upscale neighbourhoods near the river valley had the biggest gains, led by a 9.6 per cent jump in assessments in Windsor Park and 8.9 per cent increase in Quesnell Heights.
The biggest drop was in sparsely populated Rural North East Horse Hill, where values shrank 9.1 per cent.
The type of property that saw the biggest increase was apartments, on average up 7.4 per cent or about $8 a month for each suite in a typical building, Risling said.
“What we think is happening is certainly some of the other (types of) investment properties are not so great — there’s been some coverage in the media about office buildings,” he said.
“We believe some of those investors are moving to multi-family inventory.”
Darcy Torhjelm, chair of the Realtors Association of Edmonton, said the busy downtown market might be helping push up apartment prices, although he’s not specialized in this field.
He doesn’t expect much change in Edmonton housing prices in the near future.
“They’ve pretty much levelled out. I’m not predicting a huge increase or decrease over the next year,” he said.
“Our preliminary look at it indicates 2018 will be very similar to 2017. Prices will stabilize. There’s still good inventory levels, but sellers will be able to sell their properties.”
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