The difference between Calgary and Airdrie property taxes
March 21, 2018 | by QualicoCommunities
Calgary and its northern neighbour Airdrie have been growing rapidly for a number of years. Being so close to each other, it can sometimes feel like they are just one city. When looking at Calgary and Airdrie there are very important factors to consider; including tax rates. If you’re looking to buy a new home, you will want to know what your property tax rate would be and where those hard-earned tax dollars are going.
Property tax is a yearly payment that is calculated based on the annual assessment of your home multiplied by the Council approved property tax rate. The Council approved tax rate is a combination of the Municipal and Provincial tax rates. Property taxes serve an important role in our cities and communities. They are used to build roads and pay for public safety, schools, libraries and community parks; a very long list of important elements a community provides.
Different cities, similar property tax
Though they are located beside one another, Calgary and Airdrie are very different cities. The differences can be seen in age, mass and population density; but it may surprise you to hear that the cities’ property taxes aren’t very different - at least not at first glance. The following examples from 2017 outline how Calgary and Airdrie have similar total residential property taxes.
Imagine that last year, your home was assessed and valued at $400,000. The 2017 Calgary residential property tax rate was 0.0065008, or roughly 0.65% of your home’s assessed value. This means that for your home assessed at $400,000, your 2017 property tax would have been $2,600.32($400,000 x 0.0065008).
Conversely, the 2017 residential property tax rate in the city of Airdrie was 0.00657126. This means that if you were to have that same home appraised for $400,000 in Airdrie, your property tax would be $2,628.51($400,000 x 0.00657126).
Though these figures seem very similar with just a small difference of $28.19, the end use of these tax dollars make all the difference.
Taxes to help your community
As mentioned previously, the property tax rate is a combination of the Municipal tax rate and the Provincial tax rate. Last year, Calgary had a Municipal tax rate of 0.0039633, while Airdrie had a municipal tax rate of 0.00409336. The municipal portion of property taxes is very important to the maintenance and development of community amenities including parks, greenspace and schools.
For that same home that was appraised for $400,000 in the earlier example, the Municipal portion of tax in Calgary would be $1,585.32($400,000 x 0.0039633), while in Airdrie it would be $1,637.464($400,000 x 0.00409366); a difference of $52.15. Why is this important? Because the city’s population makes all the difference!
The impact of population
Population size has a huge impact on the total tax dollars that municipal governments get to spend. According to the 2017 census, Calgary has a population of 1,246,337 people and as Statistics Canada reported, roughly 560,000 occupied private dwellings. Airdrie, on the other hand, has a reported population of 64,922 people and just over 21,600 occupied private dwellings. This population difference plays a significant factor on municipal property taxes.
In a booming city such as Calgary, there are over 500,000 households that pay property tax. This amounts to millions of dollars generated for the government to spend on the important community improvements that residents hope for to improve the quality of living. In the case of Calgary residents, they are helped by the large population as the Municipal tax rate applies to such a large number of households that it can be lower and still generate a lot of money.
Based on the above logic, it makes sense that Airdrie would have a slightly higher Municipal tax rate. They have a significantly smaller population, and to improve communities and help grow the city it the tax dollars from current residents are imperative. Therefore the Municipal government must impose a higher rate. They are unable to tax the quantity of households that a massive city such as Calgary can.
With a large population comes a lot of money. Luckily for those people living in cities with a large number of dwellings, they can often avoid high property taxes as the Municipality can levy lower tax rates across multiple dwellings, as opposed to higher rates over fewer dwellings like you see in Airdrie.
Property taxes are a critical part of city and community development. Without them, our communities would be lacking the schools, maintained parks and green spaces that make up the identity of our neighbourhoods. If you’re trying to decide between big city living in Calgary, or the small town feel with Rocky Mountain views in Airdrie, you can house hunt with the knowledge that regardless of what city you choose, your property taxes will be roughly the same; just remember where your tax dollars are going!