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Should You Buy A Home On A Corner Lot?

Posted by Sherry Rioux on October 22, 2009

Over the many years I’ve been selling real estate in the Collingwood – Blue Mountain area, I’ve very often heard buyers say that they think both property values and realty taxes are higher on corner lots.  I don’t know where this belief stems from – perhaps it was true at one time but not necessarily today.

When the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) assesses property values for taxation purposes, they may decide that a corner lot either increases or decreases a property’s value.  The same would apply to an appraiser doing a property valuation.  The answer is that it depends.

Not all corner lots are equal.  Some are located in quiet areas where the presence of two roads around the property would not impact the residents.  Perhaps they back on to a rural field or forest.  Maybe there are no sidewalks.  On the other hand, they could be located in a densely populated area where owners of a home on a corner lot are subjected to twice the traffic, double the amount of sidewalks to shovel (or more), restrictive easements for site lines, fencing prohibitions and pedestrian foot traffic crossing their lawn at corners.

Some homes on corner lots in denser subdivisions have virtually no backyard and their homes back right onto the side of the neighbours house or yard.  On one hand, the owners have a loss of privacy in the back but on the other hand, they have a much wider lot with a greater sense of space and added side yard privacy potential.

Homes on corner lots may have shorter driveways with side yard garages and more distant access to the front door for visitors and guests.  Backing out of laneways might be a bit more challenging.  The city may have an easement for site lines that prohibit fencing or other additions buyers assume they can do.  On the other hand, many municipalities may have tree planting programs and staff who can provide helpful advice on natural screening for privacy.

I imagine that if you polled 100 people, half would say they love corner lots and the other 50 would say they don’t.  In each case, buyers have to look at properties on a case by case basis to see if the impact of a corner lot would be positive or negative for them.

3 thoughts on “Should You Buy A Home On A Corner Lot?

  • on October 22, 2009

    Marg – You have listed several things an owner of a corner lot may wish to use in appealing their assessment.

    Assessments are calculated using a formula created by complex multiple regressional analysis of many sales in the subject area. This formula is then applied to the information the assesment department has about an individual property to arrive at the assessed value of that propertry.

    The formula used may not have included the detrimental effect on the values that you as Realtor know exist.

  • Marg
    on October 22, 2009

    Excellent comment Barrie and I know you are quite expert at these matters. Thanks. You raise another point – buyer should consult with their REALTOR® for an opinion on the impact on value in each case.

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