How Accurate Is The City Of Edmonton Property Assessment?

By October 17, 2012 QUESTION
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Short Answer

Not very accurate.

Long Answer

Every year, the City of Edmonton comes up with a value for every property in Edmonton. It isn’t easy to estimate the values of that many properties, so many times the price isn’t very close to what the actual market value or selling price would be if the house were put up for sale. (To find out more about your home’s value, see What is Your Home Worth?)

[pullquote_right]If the owner had used the assessed value, they could have lost $36,500![/pullquote_right]

So if the price you get on your property tax assessment isn’t quite the same as your actual market value, how far off is it? Well that totally depends on the property, let’s look at some real-life examples of a City of Edmonton Property Tax assessments compared to the market value of a some Edmonton homes.

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• A house in Brintnell was assessed by the city at $317,500, but it sold for $325,000 that same year. Pretty close – just 2.4% off. Let’s look at some more assessments versus actual selling prices to see if they are just as accurate.

• A large home in MacEwan sold in 2012 for $500,000 – its assessment for 2012 was $526,500 – a fairly significant $26,500 (or 5.3%) off.

• A McKernan house sold in 2012 for $450,000 – its assessment that same year was $484,000. Having an unreasonable asking price for a house when selling usually means that house sits on the market. Being off by $34,000 likely means that many buyers might ignore the property altogether.

• A condo downtown was assessed at $224,500, but it sold for $261,000 that same year. It sold for 16.3% more than it was assessed at by the City. If the owner had used the assessed value and sold their condo at that price, they could have lost $36,500 – that could be someone’s yearly income!

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There just isn’t any way a municipality could know the values of all the houses in a city. It’s just not possible. The assessment is meant as a tax assessment based on what the City of Edmonton is estimating from the past year, it is meant to give a reasonable figure to levy taxes, nothing more.

If you want to know the price of your home for the purpose of selling, I suggest calling a realtor for a market evaluation, or getting an appraisal done by a professional appraiser to find out a more accurate valuation. Without seeing your home, no one could really know what it is actually worth, but an appraiser or realtor will come to your property and look at things like upgrades and condition to adjust the price accordingly. And if you really want to know the exact value – well you’d have to sell your home on the open market for that.

This article is meant to illustrate the difference between the market value of a home as determined by selling it on the open market versus looking at a tax assessment from the City of Edmonton – it is not meant to suggest you should appeal your assessment to the City of Edmonton in the hopes of reducing your property tax. Also, it is not cool to call a real estate agent for a free market evaluation in the hopes of tax avoidance.

by +Alan F Macdonald REALTOR® | Copyright © – gimme-shelter.com

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Alan F Macdonald

Author Alan F Macdonald

Alan F Macdonald is a real estate agent with Maxwell Challenge Realty in Edmonton, Alberta.

More posts by Alan F Macdonald

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Mo says:

    I manage an apartment building. I want to challenge the assessment

    • Alan F Macdonald says:

      You can challenge an assessment – usually this means you must pay a fee to challenge and they will let you know how to present your argument. Good luck!

  • Guy says:

    Does the assessment relate to market value in any way? I live in a townhouse and none of the units have recently sold for anything near what our assessment is this year (over estimated by about 60k). Is there any point to challenging the assessment and base the argument on market value?

    • Alan F Macdonald says:

      Hello Guy. The assessment is a ballpark value only. And sometimes it is not even that. Our assessment on our house is off by $50,000. I do not know if it is worth arguing about. If you think you can use recent sales to convince the City that your value is actually lower, they may lower your taxes. You do have to pay to make an appeal, though. It may be worth it – $60,000 is a lot. Good luck!

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