Questions to think about when it comes to property assessment changes?

Edmonton-Property-Assessment-Comparison

Buying a home is likely one of the biggest decisions of a person’s life from a financial perspective. For this reason, Home Tribe aims to help people use data and science to make better and more informed decisions related to buying a home. In addition to our Home Tribe Match function, which relies heavily on numerous datasets related to real estate, we will be expanding our blog to bring some of this data out from behind the scenes, and to showcase other cool information that is relevant or just plain awesome.

With property taxes in the news over this past month, we thought it would be a great time to release our latest data visualization map. Similar in appearance to the building age map we published in March, this map highlights the areas of the city of Edmonton where property assessment values have either increased or decreased in the last year. You can view our Edmonton property comparison visualization of 2015-2016 here.

You may have also come across the City of Edmonton’s amusing videos that attempt to illuminate the process the City uses to determine the value of every property in Edmonton on an annual basis. Even after watching the videos, I still had questions about how these assessment increases or decreases vary from place to place within Edmonton. Our Assessed Values map does a great job of illuminating how the assessed values changed in the past year, using open data from the City’s Open Data Catalogue.

One feature of this data that jumped out at me right away is the distinctive barrier in northern Edmonton, 137 ave. On the north side of this road property taxes almost all increased significantly (one notable exception being Londonderry Mall), on the south side they decreased. In fact, the neighbourhood in the city with the greatest decrease in assessment values, Athlone, is on the west side of this zone. Use the search bar in the top right of the map to pinpoint Athlone, or other

Another interesting pattern that I noticed is the tendency for houses on the edge of a neighbourhood to have the opposite trend as the houses on the inside of the same neighbourhood in some areas of the city, most notably in the south west. Is this effect partially due to nice river valley views, or, in the case of decreases, river valley land slide danger (such as along Whitemud Rd)? In the most expensive neighbourhood in town, Westbrook Estates, there is an interesting inner row of houses that decreased their assessed value in contrast to the rest of the neighbourhood. Is this due to the fact that they border onto the Derrick Golf Club, and there could be more stray golf ball danger now than last year?

As you can probably tell, more often than not, looking at data in this way can raise more questions than it answers. This certainly isn’t a bad thing though, without a great visualization of data like this, it’s hard to even determine what questions to ask!

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