Is property tax information in Lethbridge helpful when evaluating a property? Yes, No, Maybe?
When someone asks us to evaluate a property in Lethbridge and I have never seen the property before, the first thing I will do is look up the tax assessment roll. The tax assessment can provide lots of valuable information such as the year the property was built, the size of the lot, the legal description, and of course the value the city is using to assess taxes. See https://gis.lethbridge.ca/propertyinfo/
In my experience, I have found that tax assessments in Lethbridge are normally on average about 5% lower than the expected sale price of a home. However, they can also be WAY TOO HIGH… WAY TOO LOW… or just about right.
Generally, tax assessments will be lower than the actual value of a new build. Basically, a 2019 tax assessment is the value of the property according to the city for July 1st of 2018. So, if the house was not yet fully built in 2018, but it was in 2019, the tax assessment will be very low. You could have a house that was built starting in August of 2018, that was finished in April of 2019… and the tax assessed value only reflects the lot value. (see https://www.lethbridge.ca/living-here/My-Taxes/Pages/My-Property-Assessment.aspx)
LOW TAX ASSSESSMENTS
In some areas of Lethbridge, tax assessments can be lower than the actual value of the home. For example, with older homes in South Lethbridge, there are some homes that have sold recently for much higher than their tax assessed value. For example, there was a house on 5 avenue south that Sold in May of 2019 for $304,000, with an assessed value of $203,600. Another 100 plus year old home that sold on 4th avenue at the end of 2018 for $477,500, yet with a tax assessment of $383,200. Clearly, these were older homes, that had a bunch of renovations, that had not yet been reflected in a tax assessment.
HIGH TAX ASSESSMENTS
Some areas have tax assessed values higher than the actual selling prices in the city. For example, if we look at all 41 single family homes sold in Riverstone West Lethbridge under $500,000 from January 1 2019 to September 20, 2019, the tax assessment is on average $3,326 dollars higher than the actual selling price. For sale prices compared to tax assessment value, they range from $36,900 under assessed value to $34,000 above assessed value.
If you are thinking of putting an offer in on a house with your REALTOR®, or listing your own home, you can of course look at the property assessment. But much more important, is to have your REALTOR® prepare you with a market evaluation of the property.