Vancouver and Toronto commercial property tax ratios trending downward, Montreal continues to soar

The new 2011 Property Tax Rate Analysis, a Canada-wide survey of property tax rates of major urban centres produced by REALpac and Altus Group, has yielded both encouraging and alarming results. At the high end of the spectrum, Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal continue to post the highest commercial to residential tax ratios which are well in excess of 4:1. While REALpac remains concerned about these unfair ratios, it was pleased to see that for the fourth consecutive year, Vancouver and Toronto continue to trend downwards with significant reductions, and applauds the cities for working towards a more favourable business environment. In contrast, Montreal continues to trend upwards at an alarming rate that may well put them on par with Toronto and Vancouver as early as next year, and will surpass them shortly thereafter if the current ratio increases continue. On the opposite end of the spectrum, REALpac commends the cities of Winnipeg and Edmonton which continue to promote favourable business environments with the three lowest commercial to residential tax ratios amongst major Canadian municipalities.

On an absolute tax basis, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver populate the low end of the spectrum with the lowest estimated property taxes per $1,000 of commercial assessment while Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa have the highest. From a residential assessment standpoint, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton yield the lowest property taxes per $1,000 of residential assessment while Winnipeg, Halifax, and Ottawa yield the highest.

REALpac utilizes the results for the eight Canadian municipalities that have been analyzed to promote tax fairness as well as recognize those cities which maintain equitable rates. The continued reduction of excessive property tax burdens on commercial and industrial tenants and landlords will make cities more competitive and promote jobs and investment, resulting in increases to the property assessment base and subsequently generating more stable and sustainable revenue.

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