Cochrane homeowners receiving their 2023 property assessment notices in the mail this week will notice the average residential single-family assessment has increased by 13.21 per cent.
In 2021 the average went down 3.02 per cent and in 2022 it went up 8.73 percent.
The 2023 assessments are based on the market conditions of July 1, 2022, and the physical condition of the property as of Dec. 31, 2022.
An average residential single-family property in Cochrane is now assessed at $561,200, which is a substantial increase from the 2022 average of $495,700. The 2021 average was $455,900.
Kendra Watt of CIR Realty in Cochrane cautions not to take the assessment figures too literally, as they are an assessment value for the purposes of tax calculations. As such, they represent a completely different home value estimate from what realtors use when helping clients buy and sell a home.
“It tells us historical information because it’s not a current market value. The market has been changing so quickly over the past couple of years, when we look at it from a real estate perspective, we’re looking at two completely different figures,” she said.
“Tax assessed value is never the same as your current market value for sales purposes or lending purposes. So your current market value could be way lower or way higher than your assessed value.”
Watt said the average sale price of a single family non-condo home in Cochrane over the last 60 days was $575,066 according to Multiple Listing Service figures.
She recommends that anyone confused by how assessments work should go onto the Town’s website, where “an excellent video” explains the whole process.
Watt said the Cochrane market softened in June 2022, but is starting to harden back up again, due largely to a lack of supply.
“It’s not as crazy as it was a year ago, but we’re seeing multiple offers again. We’re back into a lack of inventory, the whole supply and demand thing,” she said.
“Unless we get more listings, we’re going to see more competition for each individual house, which is going to drive the values up again.”
Katherine Van Keimpema, Executive Director of Corporate Services at the Town of Cochrane said in a release that there are a few reasons why property assessments went up this year.
"Two factors contribute to increases or decreases in annual property taxes: change in assessed value of a property relative to the average change, and change in the total amount of property taxes the municipality needs to collect," she said.
This year, the Town of Cochrane needs to collect 3.7 per cent more in taxes than it did in 2022. Assessment values that increased by the same amount as the average value change should anticipate a 3.7 per cent increase in municipal property taxes.
Changes in the amount of education taxes set by the Province and the requisition to support seniors’ housing (set by the Rocky View Foundation) will also impact the total taxes payable.
The average non-residential assessment increased by six per cent.
Property assessments are prepared annually using mass appraisal techniques, which determine property values by grouping similar properties at a specific point in time. Assessments do not reflect a single sale price; rather they show typical market value on the same date each year.
Assessment notices were mailed Jan. 20, followed by a 60-day review period, allowing property owners to review their assessment and discuss any questions or concerns before the taxes are calculated.
During the 60-day review period, property owners can compare their new assessment to the previous year’s market value and the assessment of similar neighbouring properties using tools on Cochrane.ca/assessment.
Any questions or concerns about individual assessments can be directed to the assessment department. Property owners who are still not satisfied with their assessment after discussing it with an assessor may file a formal complaint with the assessment review board.
A formal complaint can only be submitted within the 60-day customer review period ending March 31.
Assessment increases will vary by neighbourhood and by property type. When town council sets the tax rate in May, the rate may change slightly as a result of the increased assessment values. The tax rate reflects the amount of taxes required to support Cochrane’s budget. With the increase in assessments, a smaller tax increase may be sufficient. Those details will be determined in May when council sets the 2023 tax rate.
Property taxes make up $35 million of the Town of Cochrane’s total budget. The provincial education requisition is determined by Alberta Municipal Affairs in April.
Due to processing delays at the Province of Alberta Land Titles Office, ownership and mailing address changes may not be reflected on the owner on title at the time of mailing. Assessment notices are mailed to the owner on title at the time of mailing. If you do not receive an assessment notice you can go online to view the assessments at Cochrane eServices.
For more information, go to Cochrane.ca/assessment.