The 2017 edition of the BMA Municipal Study is out and there is a wealth of material here for blog posts for the next little while. It is a municipal election year so comparisons of property taxes and service levels are particularly of interest. For this post, an update of property taxes paid for a detached bungalow in the five major northern Ontario cities. According to the BMA, the definition of a single detached family bungalow is: "A detached three-bedroom single story home with 1.5 bathrooms and a one car garage. Total area of the house is approximately 1200 sq, ft. and the property is situated on a lot that is approximately 5,500 sq. ft."
Figure 1 plots the average residential property tax paid for a detached bungalow for the five cities for the period 2005 to 2017. In 2005, these averaged $2,260 and by 2017 the average was $3,530 representing an increase of 56 percent. While property taxes trend up everywhere there are several features that caught my interest. First, there is a clustering with Thunder Bay, Timmins and North Bay as higher property tax jurisdictions while Greater Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie are generally cities with lower property tax levels - at least for this class of property. In 2017, average taxes for a detached bungalow were highest in Timmins at $4,294, followed by Thunder Bay at $3,695, then North Bay at $3,576 then Greater Sudbury at $3,123 and finally the Sault at $2,954.
Second, the last year has seen the property taxes paid on an average detached bungalow in Timmins apparently spike while those in North Bay actually declined. Between 2016 and 2017, the value for Timmins rose from $3,574 to $4,294 - an increase of 14.4 percent. Meanwhile, in North Bay, there was a decline from $3,632 to $3,576 - a decline of 1.5 percent. Naturally, these changes need to be put into the context of the local municipal economic and fiscal environment.
Keep in mind, this also does not mean every property owner in Timmins saw a 14.4 percent increase in Timmins but the steeper increases may be related to how a change in assessment values for mining companies by MPAC that turned out to be lower than expected was measured in the BMA Report. The projected decline could have resulted in higher rates on residential properties but the full impact appears to have been mitigated for the time being. It turns out the average homeowner only saw a $125 increase in 2017 in Timmins. As for North Bay, there apparently are rate decreases underway as a result of market assessment value shifts.
In any event, the annual percent increases for 2015 to 2017 plus an average of the three years are plotted in Figure 2. The average increases in property taxes for a detached bungalow were highest in Timmins at 7.2 percent and lowest in North Bay at 0.6 percent. Thunder Bay was in the middle of the pack at 2.9 percent - just below Sudbury at 3 percent and ahead of the Sault at 2.6 percent.
more to follow.