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Banff homes hit $1 M mark

Eight homes in Banff sold for more than $1 million over the last year-and-a-half. According to Town of Banff assessor Frank Watson, 96 single-family homes and duplexes sold between July 2009 and the end of 2010.

Eight homes in Banff sold for more than $1 million over the last year-and-a-half.

According to Town of Banff assessor Frank Watson, 96 single-family homes and duplexes sold between July 2009 and the end of 2010. They ranged in price from $395,000 to $2,750,000.

“Eight of those sales were in excess of $1 million,” said Watson, owner of Bow Valley Property Valuators, at a Banff town council meeting, Monday (March 14).

In addition, there were 93 condo sales, ranging in price from $260,000 to $470,000.

The overall decreases in Banff’s assessment went from $1.9 billion last year to $1.8 billion in 2011. Since the boom days of 2008, Banff’s tax base has shrunk from $2.2 billion.

The average value of residential homes in Banff increased five per cent for 2011, while average assessments on commercial properties were down about 20 per cent.

By comparison, in 2010, residential property values saw an average decrease of seven per cent, while the average decrease in commercial property values was 27 per cent.

Residential properties are assessed based on market values – what a home is worth on the open market on July 1 of the previous year.

The assessor considers the size and quality of the home, as well as the land value. Previous sales are also taken into consideration.

Commercial properties are assessed based on potential income, with management fees, structural maintenance, vacancy allowances and capitalization factored in.

On the commercial side, hotels make up 65 per cent of Banff’s commercial tax base, downtown properties make up 30 per cent and the industrial area is five per cent.

Watson said there was one hotel sale in town from July 2009 to the end of last year, plus two commercial transfers on Banff Avenue.

When assessing downtown properties, Watson also takes into account the overall vacant space in Banff, which was up about two to three per cent.

The assessment process is more or less the same as in other communities, but what is different is that rents charged by landlords are significantly higher.

“In Banff, we have rents that are $100 per square foot, whereas other places have $30 rents per square foot,” said Watson. “Banff is different.”

Watson said the gross income from all hotels was down about 10.5 per cent based on an average of 2007, 2008 and 2009 information.

Meanwhile, Banff council plans to set the tax rate at its meeting on April 26, based on what tax revenues are required to meet the 2011 budget.


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