MYTHBUSTERS – are rural assessments hiding urban/suburban average assessed values in HRM?

During this year’s budget debate some folks on twitter convinced some councillors of the following myth – the average assessment in HRM was artificially low because the rural home values were bringing down the average, hiding how high taxes in the urban/suburban assessments were becoming.

I asked staff to review this and they found the urban service average is $249,900 (this is for the urban and suburban area on the map above), only slightly higher than the $214,4000 average for the region. Suburban commuter shed is $245,000 (the orange on the map). While rural home values (pink on the map) are much lower than urban/commuter shed, there are not enough homes in rural HRM to radically shift the average. MYTH: BUSTED

Staff analysis below:

For this request, I used the same group of single-family homes we considered for the annual rate setting process, with an average taxable assessment of $241,400 in 2019. For the three service areas you requested, with “urban service” being those paying both the hydrant and local transit area rates, “rural resources” being those east of Jeddore Harbour (beyond the commuter shed) and the “suburban/rural commuter shed” being the rest, the average single-family home assessments are:

Urban Service Sub/Rural CommuterRural Resource

The percentages indicate that those in the “urban service” area account for about two-thirds of all single-family homes; “rural resource” only 4% (about 5,200 homes).  Interesting that the urban homes and the suburban/ commutershed homes average roughly the same value. Let me know whether this answers your question.