Market Update!

Area Activity June 2016 - jpg

Some very revealing statistics were released by WECAR this morning. June was a very active month for Leamington and Kingsville.  2016 continues the trend towards a sellers market in southern Essex County. Listings are down compared to the same time last year while the total number of sales is up.  A lack of inventory in Kingsville in particular has firmed prices up quite significantly.  At this point in 2015 the average residential sale price was around $225,000, while this year that number jumped to nearly $250,000.  For the month of June alone the average price was a little over $300,000.  That’s an increase of nearly $65,000 from June of 2015! (In the attached image, Kingsville is Area 30 and Leamington is area 40)

What does this mean for homeowners?  With bidding wars and multiple offers on many properties, those living in Kingsville are excited at the prospect of getting top dollar for their home.  That enthusiasm is tempered somewhat by the prospect of having to compete with other buyers on their next home.

If we look at the numbers in Leamington however, there might be an opportunity worth considering. As mentioned earlier, sales in June were up, nearly 25% higher than June 2015.  Prices though have remained relatively flat.   The 12 month average sale price in Leamington is approximately $181,000. which is $67,000 less than the same figure in Kingsville.  In looking at June 2016 sales alone, the difference is $94,000.

109 Robson Road Unit 504

There are of course advantages to living in Kingsville, cost of living being chief among them.  On a $250,o00 home, the taxes might be $1200/year lower.  But when you factor in the cost of servicing the debt on a higher priced home in Kingsville the comparative advantage disappears entirely.  Moreover, on a new build the development fees have temporarily been waived in Leamington. Given the disparity in the price of land, there’s yet another reason to consider living in Leamington.

As of noon on June 5th, 2016 there were less than 20 available properties on realtor.ca in Kingsville under $250,000.  Conversely in Leamington there were 79.  For properties under $150,000 the figure is 34 in Leamington and only 4 in Kingsville.  The Leamington market appears to provide more choice, lower prices and overall a less stressful homebuying experience.

192 Robson Rd

Smart buyers (any many of our clients) are slowly beginning to realize where the value is.  While are plenty of great reasons to want to live in Kingsville, there are plenty of wonderful amenities in Leamington not limited to the Marina and waterfront promenade, the Sherk Complex and Point Pelee National Park.   An open minded consumer might be able to save themselves a substantial amount of money!

If you have any questions on market position in either community or anywhere else in the county please drop us a line!  We love talking local real estate.

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2014 Assessment Appeals

MPAC LOGO

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) has recently updated their website with 2014 Request for Reconsideration forms.  If you do not think your assessment is reflective of market value (as of Jan 1 2012) you can use this form to ask MPAC to reconsider the value they returned on your property.  The window to submit an RfR runs until March 31, 2014.  We are in the second year of a four year assessment cycle.  The next general reassessment is scheduled for the 2017 tax year.

If you would like some assistance filing a RfR, Contact Us and we’d be happy to review your assessment and give you some advice on how to proceed (or whether not to!).  In 2013, our office helped ratepayers from here to Toronto save close to $1,000,000 in assessed value. We pay enough tax.  You shouldn’t have to pay more than your fair share!

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Property Assesment Notices – what they mean

As many of you in the area have noticed, Property Assessment Notices have now been mailed to residents of Essex county.

 

A common question is what are they used for?  In short, your property taxes are based on this value.  You simply multiply the assessed value for your property by the municipal tax rate.  For the last four years, we have been paying tax on an assessed value that was based on the market as of January 1, 2008.  Your new assessment updates the assessed value of your home to the market conditions as of January 1, 2012.  This new number does not account for any physical changes to your property.  Instead, it shows the market difference (either increase or decrease) over the last 4 years.  These figures will come into effect for the 2013 taxation year for which municipal councils are currently trying to determine their tax rates.  Assuming they remain the same from the current year, if your assessed value went down, you should see a decrease in the amount of taxes you are  responsible for.  If the assessed value incrased though, you will have a larger tax liability.  The higher value though will be phased in over the next 4 years, increasing 25 per cent each year.

How does MPAC arrive at your assessed value?  They use a mass appraisal model which takes into consideration a number of elements about your property including lot and building size, location, quality of construction, number of bathrooms and if there are any secondary structures on the property such as a pool or garage.  It then uses a computer model to compare the elements of your home to sales in a given neighborhood to arrive at your assessed value.  For those interested in learning more about the information MPAC has about your property, you can log on  to https://www.aboutmyproperty.ca/ which is a free service where MPAC allows you to view a profile of your property and then compare your assessment with other properties in the area.  On the bottom right hand corner of your assessment notice you’ll find your Roll Number and and Access Key that will allow you to access the site and gain information specific to your property.

If you feel your assessed value is incorrect, you do have a recourse.  Through the aboutmyproperty service there are links to file what is known as a Request for Reconsideration.  An RfR is a free review that you can ask be conducted on your assessment.  Be aware though that there is a time sensitive nature to this process – to be eligible for a review,  MPAC must receive this document by March 31, 2013.

If you require more information about your assessment notice, you can call MPAC directly at 1-866-296-6722.  You can also contact us as we’d be happy to sit down with you to discuss your assessment.  We can give you a quick idea of whether we think it is a fair value and whether you might have grounds to file an RfR.  There may be instances where it can actually be disadvantageous to do so!  We have the knowledge and experience to help you with  your assessment.  We all pay enough tax.  You shouldn’t have to pay more than your fair share.

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Property Assessment Notices Being Delivered – Are You Ready?

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation announced that, as part of the 2012 reassessment, they have mailed Property Assessment Notices for nearly 5 million properties.  MPAC is a private not for profit organization charged with the task of classifying and valuing property in Ontario.  Your current assessment has been based on a valuation date of January 1, 2008.  The new notices will show an updated value based on the market as of January 1, 2012.   If in their analysis MPAC determines that the market value of your home has increased or decreased over the last four years, it will be reflected on your new notice.   As a homeowner, this is important because your property tax liability is based on the figure returned by MPAC.

In general, the mass appraisal model employed by MPAC is very efficient.  It allows MPAC to assess an enormous inventory of properties by looking at many of the variables of your property (such as location, building and lot size, quality of construction etc…).  It then compares them with sales in a given neighborhood to arrive at your assessed value.  However, it is not a precise instrument.  If MPAC has any incorrect information about your home, there is a chance that you may end up paying too much property tax!  To this extent, the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario found that in one out of eight properties reviewed, the assessed value differed from the sale price by more than 20%.*

Fortunately, there is a recourse for property owners to challenge their assessment.  You can file a Request for Reconsideration (free of charge) with MPAC through which you can outline why you think a reduction is warranted.    At R.A. Critchlow Realty Inc. we have in-depth knowledge of the assessment system and what information MPAC looks at most when reviewing a Request for Reconsideration.  If you think you have been incorrectly assessed, we may be able to help.  But do not hesitate as there is a specific window of time for you to file a Request for Reconsideration.  Property taxes are high enough.  You shouldn’t have to pay more than your fair share.

*http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en10/308en10.pdf

CONTACT US

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.

Property Assessment Notices Are Coming – Are You Ready?

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation announced that, as part of the 2012 reassessment, they have mailed Property Assessment Notices for nearly 5 million properties.  MPAC is a private not for profit organization charged with the task of classifying and valuing property in Ontario.  Your current assessment has been based on a valuation date of January 1, 2008.  The new notices will show an updated value based on the market as of January 1, 2012.   If in their analysis MPAC determines that the market value of your home has increased or decreased over the last four years, it will be reflected on your new notice.   As a homeowner, this is important because your property tax liability is based on the figure returned by MPAC.

In general, the mass appraisal model employed by MPAC is very efficient.  It allows MPAC to assess an enormous inventory of properties by looking at many of the variables of your property (such as location, building and lot size, quality of construction etc…).  It then compares them with sales in a given neighborhood to arrive at your assessed value.  However, it is not a precise instrument.  If MPAC has any incorrect information about your home, there is a chance that you may end up paying too much property tax!  To this extent, the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario found that in one out of eight properties reviewed, the assessed value differed from the sale price by more than 20%.*

Fortunately, there is a recourse for property owners to challenge their assessment.  You can file a Request for Reconsideration (free of charge) with MPAC through which you can outline why you think a reduction is warranted.    At R.A. Critchlow Realty Inc. we have in-depth knowledge of the assessment system and what information MPAC looks at most when reviewing a Request for Reconsideration.  If you think you have been incorrectly assessed, we may be able to help.  But do not hesitate as there is a specific window of time for you to file a Request for Reconsideration.  Property taxes are high enough.  You shouldn’t have to pay more than your fair share.

*http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en10/308en10.pdf

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We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.

Growing the Town of Leamington

There was an interesting article in the Windsor Star this week talking about the latest census figures which show a mild population decline in Leamington.  ( http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/07/25/leamington-tries-to-counter-population-dip/ ) Between 2006 and 2011, Leamington lost nearly 500 residents.  The focus of the article (and the comments in particular) though shifted to a discussion on the vitality of the community as a whole.  Leamington in the past has somewhat branded itself as a retirement friendly community.  With a small exodus of working age people and a growth in the number of retirement age people, the question becomes whether this is the right strategy and if not, how do we best grow the town of Leamington in the next few years.

Many commenters suggest that property taxes and development fees are too high in town.  We here tend to agree that this is a strong deterrent.  It seems no coincidence to us that the town of Kingsville, with lower development fees and a lower tax rate, seems to be be experiencing stronger growth with several large commercial and residential developments on the go.  That being said, Leamington is a larger community with more services to offer.  It does in fact have a hospital and a large recreation complex with a wonderful pool.  The reconstruction and revitalization of Seacliff Park has been a great benefit to the community which is on display every weekend as people pack the splash-pad and the beach.  But highlighting services and amenities as a justification for a higher cost of living will not work.  Leamington must become competitive with surrounding communities with respect to the cost of construction and living.  Otherwise we’ll continue to see more development dollars find alternative locations for investment.  More homes, commercial projects and greenhouses will be built elsewhere.

But what do you think?  We’d love to hear some of your comments on how to grow Leamington as a community and what can be done to retain working professionals as well as attract new people to the area – both for work and recreation.

Property Assessment Reconsideration Deadline Approaching

Are you paying too much property tax?

The deadline to challenge your 2012 assessment with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) is quickly approaching.  To do so, a property owner can request what is called a Request for Reconsideration any time until March 31st.  Why should you consider filing a Request for Reconsideration?  Your property taxes are based on the assessed value MPAC attributes to your property.  If MPAC has inaccurate data about your property, your property tax bill might be based on an incorrect value.  In it’s 2010 report, the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario found that as many as 1 in 8 properties  has assessed values that differed from their sale price by more than 20%.  This means, you may be paying more than your proportional share in property tax.

In 2006, the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman published a report entitled “Getting it Right” in which it challenged the openness and fairness of the assessment review process.  To their credit, MPAC took many of the recommendations and adopted them as part of their review process.  The average property owner though is still at a disadvantage given the weight of information MPAC is able to use to defend their values.  At R.A. Critchlow Realty Inc. we not only have the market experience, we also possess substantial knowledge of the assessment process to help you determine whether a Request for Reconsideration might warranted and if so negotiate on your behalf.  Contact us to review your situation and determine what steps can be taken to potentially lessen your tax burden.

Future blog posts will look at what information MPAC uses when determining the assessed value for your property.  We’ll also take a look what the future holds given that 2013 will see the first general reassessment in 4 years in the province of Ontario.