General assessment based on real estate data

by Mel Chambers
It is general assessment time once again. In accordance with provincial law, the city of Winnipeg’s
Assessment and Taxation Department is required to assess the value of all real estate in Winnipeg using the reference date of April 1, 2014. This is done to ensure that assessment values keep pace with the changing real
estate market.  
A reference date means: What could I have sold my property for, in the open market on April 1, 2014? The previous general assessment was based on a reference date of April 1, 2012.
Generally, the growth in the Winnipeg real estate market over the past two years has been more moderate than in previous general assessment cycles.  Based on market data, the department has seen an increase in value for single-family residential homes ranging between six per cent to 11 per cent, depending on the area of the city.  
It is important to note that the change/increase in the overall assessment roll resulting from the 2016 General Assessment — which would include all property types — cannot be calculated at this time, as the process for valuing non-residential properties has not yet been completed.
The assessed value of a property is simply one part of a distribution mechanism for taxes. As such, an increase in assessed value does not necessarily mean a corresponding increase in property taxes. The level of property taxation is based on a combination of the taxation requirements for the city of Winnipeg, the local school division, and education support levy (for non-residential properties).
Remember, the 2016 market values will not be used for taxation purposes until 2016.
Residential property owners in Winnipeg will
receive by mail a preview letter that will provide information about the 2016 General Assessment, as well as the preliminary 2016 market value for their property.  The first phase of the mailing took place on October 31, 2014.  
As with past general assessments, the Assessment and Taxation Department is inviting residential property owners to speak with valuation staff about the proposed 2016 market values through the Residential Review Appointment Program (RRAP). The department will be conducting the first RRAP session (commonly referred to as an “open house”) from
November 17 to 21, 2014, in support of the October 31, 2014, mailing.  The second phase of the mailing is scheduled for February 13, 2015, with a March 2 to 6, 2015, RRAP following thereafter. Information concerning location, dates, times, etc. is included in the preview letters. 
Our residential review program is part of an overall strategy to engage property owners in an open dialogue about their preliminary 2016 market values.  It provides ample opportunity for property owners to review the values prior to the issuance of the formal assessment notices to be sent out in early June 2015.  
Even if you are not able to attend one of the Residential Review Appointment Program sessions, property owners can still call 311 where arrangements can be made for valuation staff to contact them directly. Property owners are also encouraged to visit to access a wealth of information regarding the 2016 General Assessment.
(Mel Chambers is the director/city assessor for the city of Winnipeg’s Assessment and taxation Department.)