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August 5, 2016 – Windsor property values rise 12% in 4 years…

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For the first time since 2004, Windsor property values as a whole have increased — rising 12 per cent in four years.

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, which will start mailing assessments to Windsor and Essex County residents on Monday, used sales data to determine that local property values rose an average of three per cent a year since 2012.

The assessments are applied over four years, so in 2017 Windsor home values will go up three per cent.

“It’s good news,” Mayor Drew Dilkens said Friday. “We saw a decline in property values for a number of years, especially in the 2008, 2009 period. Obviously, the Windsor economy is better now. This is the first time in my lifetime I can recall bidding wars for homes in the City of Windsor.

“A lot of people who use their homes as nest eggs are retiring and seeing that there’s more in that nest egg today.”

In Windsor, the average home is assessed at $164,000.

Dilkens thinks Windsor’s rising home values, coupled with its unemployment rate that recently fell to 6.2 per cent, indicate the city is rebounding nicely.

“When times were really rough here, and unemployment was high, and people were struggling to find work, the value of homes decreased significantly,” Dilkens said. “And now we’re seeing an upswing as the economy improves.

“It’s exactly what we hoped for and worked towards. I sense a really good feeling and spirit in the community right now — which is very positive to see.”

Perhaps the best news is that the increase in the MPAC property assessments does not mean that people will necessarily pay more in taxes. Assuming city council won’t seek more than the $400 million it currently collects annually from property taxes — and councillors have said they hope for a ninth straight year of no property tax increase — then overall contributions will remain the same. The city would simply drop the tax rate.

“The fact that the assessment increases means nothing in terms of property tax,” city CAO Onorio Colucci said. “It’s how your property value changes compared to the average property value.”

In other words, people living in hot home sales markets — Riverside, for example, rose five per cent in one year — could see their individual property assessments go up faster than average, so they would pay a slightly larger share of tax. Likewise, people in poor-selling areas might see their home values increase less than other neighbourhoods, and may end up paying a little less in tax.

Windsor’s increase of 12 per cent is lower than the provincial average of 18 per cent over four years. LaSalle went up the most locally, at 17.2 per cent over four years, while Pelee Island increased the least, at 7.2 per cent.

Desirable places such as Richmond Hill, or other hot spots in the greater Toronto area, saw assessments skyrocket up to 28 per cent over the last four years.

MPAC, the not-for-profit corporation governed by the provincial Assessment Act, assesses property values every four years.

While Windsor home values rose in 2004, they declined or remained static in 2008 and 2012.

MPAC began issuing assessments to various Ontario municipalities April 4. Windsor, Essex County and the Township of Pelee are the last places in the province to receive the assessments.

“It’s a good sign that assessments are going up because it means your investments are making money,” said Darlene Rich, an MPAC media relations specialist. “I have invested in property. And I don’t want to see it lower than what I paid for it. I buy property so it goes up, not down.”

Rich encourages homeowners to check out the MPAC site, which allows users to see trends in cities and neighbourhoods, and even see how your neighbours’ homes are doing.

For more information, visit Aboutmyproperty.ca or contact MPAC at 1 866-296-MPAC (6722).

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