Real estate in Weyburn, and throughout Saskatchewan, has been crazy in the last few years, so when the agency responsible for assessing property values embarks on a revaluation year, people should be prepared for a lot of changes.
The property evaluations are being done by the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency (SAMA), and it’s a huge, huge job involving every residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural parcel of land in the province.
Since the market’s been going crazy of late, and values have been rocketing compared to their former values in recent years, all because of the influx of people to the red-hot economy of Saskatchewan, which in turn has been driven by the oil industry, as well as ag, potash and related industries.
This has been good, even great, for most communities in Saskatchewan, as formerly empty houses and lots have been filling up, and larger centres like Weyburn have experienced unprecedented growth, on the order of 11 per cent from the last time a census count was done.
So it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to property owners that the values of properties will be significantly up from four years ago, when properties were revalued right before the big boom started changing the economic and literal landscape of Saskatchewan.
The aspect of revaluation that will scare property owners is the concern if this means a corresponding increase in taxes — but this is not necessarily the case.
The assessments are used by municipalities in conjunction with their mill rates to determine what level of taxation is required to fulfil their budgets; the principal of revaluations is they are intended to be “revenue-neutral”, as in they should still produce the same level of taxes as before, so what should change is the mill rates.
The concern rises in regard to education, as those mill rates are set now exclusively by the province, which has stated a goal for uniform mill rates across the board; will they make the necessary adjustments so the tax bills are not astronomically higher? It remains to be seen, when the tax bills come out later this spring, after the spring budget has come down.
Meantime, every property owner should check out what’s happening by going to SAMA and finding out first-hand what the changes are, and what they’ll mean to their pocketbooks.