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Sharp rise in farmland prices Death, taxes and rising farmland prices. The latter has been added to the list of life’s certainties as the value of agricultural properties has continued to shoot up across eastern Ontario. Over the past four years, the value of Prescott-Russell farmland has more than doubled, according to the Municipal Prop- erty Assessment Corporation. During the same time, MPAC relates, the value of farm property in Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry has increased by about 70 per cent. The increases are part of a growing trend across the province. According to Larry Hummel, MPAC’s Chief Assessor, since 2008, values increased for all categories of agricultural land in every area of the province. The increase is based on a number of factors including that farmland in many parts of the province remains in high demand. Across Ontario, during the first half of 2012, farmland prices in Ontario increased by 16.3 per cent, says the Farm Credit Cor- poration. That compares with a 6.7 per cent in- crease in farmland prices in Québec during the same period. Demand for arable tracts has fueled a decade-long upward movement in prices, with an acre now going for between $6,000 and $8,000. This fall, property owners have been re- ceiving notices from MPAC, which sets the value of properties for tax purposes. In Prescott-Russell, the evaluation of farmland has increased by approximately 109 per cent since 2008. With the four-year phase-in, property taxpayers will see an av- erage increase of approximately 27.4 per cent in 2013. The evaluation is combined with the tax rate to produce the final tax bill. Farmland assessment in Stormont, Dun- das and Glengarry has increased by 71.9 per cent over the last four years. With the four-year phase-in, property taxpayers will see an average increase of approximately 18 per cent next year. Under Ontario law, farm homes and one acre of property on which the home sits are taxed at the same rate as residential prop- erty in the municipality. The maximum tax rate for farmland is 25 per cent of the resi- dential tax rate and municipalities can ad- just the tax rate so that it is lower than 25 per cent of the residential rate.

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