Monday, 22 October 2012

MPAC is back: Be Very Afraid!

If you own a house or condo or any property in Ontario, you have likely come to know MPAC all too well. And maybe, after understanding what they do, you wish you never knew them at all.

MPAC has been dormant for a little while. So, if you are new to the property world or have not bought a property just yet, you may not have much of an opinion. MPAC is the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. It was formed in the late 90s to determine how much your home or condo is worth. And in turn, property taxes are based on this amount. 

Currently all property taxes in Ontario are based on the values of January 1, 2008. And now or very soon, the housing prices will be based on January 1, 2012. So, property taxes will be going up. Way up. And then a little higher than that depending on where you live. In Toronto alone, the average price of a home has gone up 23% between 2008 and 2012, but we all know is some key neighbourhoods, it has been a lot more.  Scarborough will not see the same increases as Dufferin Grove. I have even heard from my trusted local MPP that it will be a lot higher for properties closer to the subway. News of MPACS return has led to many new discussions about how to challenge what are expected to be some fairly dramatic changes to your property taxes. 

Back in 2008 when I received my first reassessment on my first home in Leslieville, I was shocked that my house was worth $50,000 more than my neighbours. We had almost the exact same house. The difference were so minor that I hardly think it accounted for $50,000. So after many appeals, they lowered it. Not by 50K, but enough to satisfy me. What I've learned about MPAC from this experience and from the experiences of many friends and clients: They often get it wrong. I'm not completely familiar with how they determine value. It has a lot to do with what information they have about your property, your renovations and your neighbourhood. 

Some of you may be spared and feel comfortable with your increase in property taxes. Or you may be shocked out of your mind. I have a feeling that there is going to be a lot of shock going around this Halloween season, and it will have little to do with ghosts and zombies, and a lot to do with you MPAC assessment.

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