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Montreal island residential property values increased on average by a little more than 23 per cent, according to the the assessment roll for 2011-2013.

 

In the Montreal suburbs, property values increased by 11.2 to 24.6 per cent, while in Montreal's 19 boroughs they increased between 18.8 to 34.7 per cent. The biggest increases noted in the city of Montreal occurred in the Plateau Mont Royal and Sud-Ouest boroughs.

 

That market value is part of a formula that allows Montreal, as well as the agglomeration council that provides island-wide services, to set a tax rate for next year's budget, and is also used to determine how much the island's 14 suburbs will contribute. As well, the roll shows how much value your home gained, or lost, on the local real estate market.

 

More details to follow.

 

(Courtesy of the Montreal Gazette)

 

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Property value

 

Westmount — $1232200

Outremont — $1029200

Hampstead — $923600

Senneville — $817800 (232 homes)

TMR — $785800

Ville Marie — $713200

Baie D’Urfe — $532700

Montreal-West — $525000

Plateau Mont Royal — $511100

CDN — $501400

Verdun — $498000

CSL — $471800

Beaconsfield — $451200

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Smoking-hot real-estate markets for revenue properties in the boroughs of Plateau Mont Royal and the Sud Ouest have pushed both neighbourhoods to the top of the tax assessment heap in the city of Montreal.

 

That good news for potential sellers of those properties - and potentially bad news for those expecting a tax bill from the city of Montreal - is contained in the assessment roll for Montreal Island for 2011-2013, which was unveiled yesterday.

 

Assessments for all types of properties - commercial, industrial and residential - increased across the island by an average of 22.4 per cent compared with the roll that covered 2007-2010.

 

The average increase in property values for the city of Montreal was 23.5 per cent, while the average for its 15 suburbs was 21.58 per cent.

 

The suburban average increase is skewed by the whopping 59.9-per-cent assessment increase on Dorval Island. A municipality containing all of 58 summer residences, it is so tiny an arrow indicating a dot on the south shore of Montreal Island had to be edited onto the map during yesterday's presentation of the roll just to show where it is.

 

With Dorval Island removed from the equation, the average assessment increase for the suburbs is 18.8 per cent. The largest assessment jump occurred in Montreal East (24.6 per cent), closely followed by the cities of Ste. Anne de Bellevue and Montreal West, both at 23 per cent.

 

The lowest average assessment increase (11.2 per cent) occurred in Côte St. Luc.

 

The assessment roll, while handy for those interested in seeing what their home is worth on the real-estate market, is also used by Montreal Island's 16 municipalities as part of a formula to levy taxes needed for their annual budgets.

 

Normally, the rule of thumb is that a property owner whose assessment increase is above the average in his or her municipality can expect to see some kind of tax hike, while those below the average will pay the same or enjoy a decrease.

 

But the task of budget making, which essentially involves coming up with a tax rate levied on every $100 of evaluation to cover city expenses but not bankrupt taxpayers (or worse, make them move to another municipality with lower taxes), can be nuanced in several ways.

 

One option is to ask the province, which sets the rules of the game when it comes to setting assessment rolls, to extend the roll's lifespan to allow necessary tax increases to be spread over a longer period of time.

 

That's what happened in 2007 when "unprecedented" assessment hikes - residential assessments increased by 47.4 per cent - compelled Quebec to extend the roll's duration to four years from three. Montreal also has the power, thanks to special provincial legislation, to levy taxes on other sources of revenue. It used that power last year to slap a tax on downtown parking lots and it could, if it wanted, revive a municipal entertainment tax.

 

Montreal city hall was keeping mum yesterday on the new assessment roll's impact on the 2011 budget, other than to note that an assessment increase doesn't necessarily mean a tax hike of the same magnitude.

 

This may come as good news to property owners in Plateau Mont Royal (which saw its overall assessment increase by 34.7 per cent, the highest on the island) and the borough of Sud Ouest, where the average increase was 30.6 per cent.

 

But much in the same way the overall average increase for the suburbs was skewed by the summer residences on Dorval Island, the Plateau and Sud Ouest saw their average increase bumped up by a flurry of real-estate transactions involving multi-unit residential rental properties.

 

In the Plateau, those properties saw their assessments increase by 41 per cent; in the Sud Ouest, assessments on the same category of properties increased by an average of 35 per cent. Yet while the average price of a single family home in the Plateau is $500,000, the same sort of dwelling in the Sud Ouest is selling for an average of $291,000.

 

For Pierre Lampron of Vision Montreal, the official opposition at Montreal city hall, the overall increase in residential property values could deter the kind of long-term taxpayers Montreal needs - young families - from settling in the city.

 

"These new assessments are creating extra pressure (on the city) to help families - especially young families - live in Montreal," Lampron said.

 

"These are market values; they can't be debated.

 

"And this roll will have to be extended (beyond three years) if we don't want people to open their tax bills and have them explode in their face."

 

Peter McQueen of Projet Montréal said the assessment hikes in the Plateau and Sud Ouest would hit renters in the boroughs because any tax hike for revenue property owners would be passed along to leaseholders.

 

"This situation is worsened by the fact the Tremblay administration already raised taxes at the beginning of the year," he said.

 

"If they'd put tolls (on roads leading into Montreal), increased the gas tax or increased parking taxes across all of Montreal, the pressures on vulnerable people in the Plateau and the Sud Ouest wouldn't be as bad."

 

Both McQueen and Lampron served on a special committee formed to find ways to eliminate a $400-million shortfall anticipated for the 2011 budget.

 

(Courtesy of the Montreal Gazette)

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