Assessment notices are in the mail today, Jan. 22, to property owners in the northern region of the province. In the region, the total value of property assessments is almost $9.2 billion, an increase of about 9.7 per cent from 2007. “The real estate market continued to be strong and this is reflected in rising property values,” said Lloyd MacLellan, senior director of operations and commercial valuation for Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. “The residential sector is very strong.” Regionally, residential property values increased by 11.7 per cent and commercial assessments increased by 3.5 per cent from 2007. Provincially, residential property values increased by 11.2 per cent and commercial assessments increased by 5.9 per cent from 2007. Overall, Nova Scotia property values were up 9.8 per cent. Notices of property assessments for most residential properties will include a personal identification number as well as an assessment account number. By entering the information on the assessment website, www.nsassessment.ca , owners can look up assessment information about their property. Those without Internet access can obtain the information and answers to assessment questions by calling 1-800-667-5727. Property owners may appeal the market-value assessment if they do not believe it is a reasonable estimate of market value as of Jan. 1, 2006. To appeal, the form on the bottom of the assessment notice must be filled out and returned to the regional assessment office by midnight Monday, Feb. 11. This is the first year where property owners did not have to apply to the Capped Assistance Program (CAP), a provincial program designed to protect Nova Scotia property owners from dramatic increases in market values. Last year, the CAP value was set at 10 per cent. Now, it is tied to the Nova Scotia Consumer Price Index which was 2.3 per cent this year. As a result, there were 278,338 properties capped this year, up from 32,721 properties last year. In the Northern region, there were 51,520 capped properties this year, up from 3,407 capped properties last year. Where an assessment notice shows a taxable market value and a taxable Capped Assistance Program CAP value, the municipality will calculate property tax on the lower of the two values.