Why are Property Taxes higher in Durham?

For a lot people moving out of the Toronto core in search of suburbs with more space the Durham region has been a popular choice due to affordability , value and proximity to downtown Toronto. The Property Taxes for different areas in Durham, however, have not been that popular. Those who have been spoiled by relatively low Toronto Property Taxes are often shocked by how much higher the taxes are in Durham.

So why are taxes so high? To understand this lets look at why we pay Property Taxes.

Property Taxes collected from home owners are used to pay for City services that include but not limited The Fire Department, Police, Public Transit, Garbage Removal, Road Maintenance as well as Elementary and Secondary Education. Other ways municipalities generate income is through Permits, Fines (like parking tickets), Levies, Tolls, and other fees.

In short the City or Municipality needs income to pay for the many services they provide to home owners.

Property taxes are based on the assessed value of the home, so a home in a big City where homes on average are more expensive will generate higher taxes than a small town in rural Ontario.

The other factor is the population of the Town or City which translate to number of house holds paying more taxes. More households = More Taxes generated.





Property Tax Rates - Residential (2020)

Population Estimates (2020)

So if a set of City services cost a certain amount, it is divided up among the number of households in that City. A City with say a population of 700,000 will pay less for services per household than a City with a population of 150,000. Bigger Cities also have additional revenue streams that results in lower taxes. Toronto for example has a municipal Land Transfer Tax which no other municipality in Ontario has.


Lets consider three different Cities, for arguments sake lets assume the property in each of these Cities have the same assessed value of $750,000

Toronto :  $750,000 x 0.599704% = $4,498.78

Windsor: $750,000 x 1.775679% = $13,317.59

Oshawa: $750,000 x 1.288498% = $9,663.73

Mind you, you are not getting the same value. You will probably get a Shoe Box in Toronto while you get a Lake front McMansion in Windsor – so not really an Apples to Apples comparison.

Based on the above, you would expect the Property Taxes for Windsor (Population: 240,000) to be lower than Oshawa (Population:  170,000) but you need to remember that the average home price is Windsor is probably around $300,000 while the average home price in Oshawa is closer to $600,000. This would kind of explain why Windsor’s tax rate is higher.

To conclude, the taxes are a function of the number of households, average price, City income streams among other factors. This just gives you an idea of why the rates are different although there are many other factors that go into calculation of the rates.



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