Jobs and Economy
Homeowners Deserve a Property Re-Assessment
(Queen's Park Report - January 19, 2009) Between September and November of last year, homeowners across the province and throughout our riding received their 2009-2012 property assessment notices based on the current value of their home as of January 1, 2008 and already they are badly in need of review.After cynically freezing property assessments until conveniently after the 2007 election, Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberal government implemented a new assessment system that assessed homes based on January 1, 2008 values - the height of a hot housing market - revising assessments from their previously assessed values of January 1, 2005. Those now unrealistic values have been locked in and are now being phased in until a new assessment is conducted in January 2012.
By the time MPAC mailed out its new assessment notices this past fall, housing prices across the province had dropped dramatically from their January 2008 values which were significantly higher.
In fact, according to MPAC, residential property values as of January 1, 2008 increased in Grey and Simcoe counties by 22.7% and 22% respectively. Grey County farmers saw an average 23.7% increase in their assessed property value while Simcoe County farmers saw an average increase of 35.3%.
Because these new assessments were determined at the height of the real estate boom, homeowners in Simcoe-Grey that I talk to feel that it is unfair to be locked into an inaccurate assessment for four years.
Even Dalton McGuinty admitted that the assessments were "unrealistic" given the significant declines in the housing market throughout the year, and yet, instead of taking action himself, he's pinning it all on municipalities by telling councilors to "act reasonably and responsibly."
All that does is underscore Mr. McGuinty's failed leadership. When B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell realized the real estate market was softening, he froze assessments at their 2007 value in recognition of falling property values.
Mr. McGuinty can act too. My colleagues and I in the Progressive Conservative Party have been urging him to restore annual property assessments starting this month to better reflect current property values. We are also urging him to implement a cap on property assessment increases at an inflationary value, starting retroactively with the 2008 assessments.