The old adage is that there are three things that matter in real estate; that being location, location and location. But a recent item here in Nova Scotia caught my attention for turning that axiom around a bit. That being the story of a man who is appealing his property tax assessment due to the availability of high speed internet access or more specifically the lack thereof. The linked story contains most of the details but I’ll try to impart the readers digest version (or perhaps we should change that axiom to “the blog version”) here. In short, his house is located in an area of the province that does not have high speed internet access and there is very tangible evidence that this is affecting the resale value of his home. While he does have dial up access (you know you want to click that link to hear that sound again) and yes, dial-up still exists; it takes over an hour to connect and the connection is broken if someone calls their line. I know the availability of high speed internet access, or lack thereof, would affect my decision and the value of my offer if I were buying a home and I suspect most readers of this blog would fall into the same category.
Where the story becomes more interesting is that there are very strict parameters on what can be appealed in your property valuation assessment in Nova Scotia, they are: Property assessment, ownership, Capped Assessment Program (CAP) eligibility or classification of the property can be appealed. You will note, that high speed internet is not included in that list and I have doubts that outside the box thinking is the going to be the first impulse of the reviewer whose desk this file lands on. However; the wrinkles do not end here, back in 2007 the province made a high profile commitment to provide broadband internet access to rural Nova Scotia, which, as we can see hasn’t quite been fully achieved yet.
So we are left with the undeniable fact that the lack of high speed internet access negatively affects the value of a home. This; however, is not reflected in the property tax valuation and is not a listed ground on which to base an appeal. The government of the province long ago made a high profile, multi-million dollar pledge to provide high speed access to rural Nova Scotia which has not yet helped this individual seven years after the pledge was made. Logic would dictate that he has a case but the question remains whether logic will rule the day?