The majority of homeowners in northern B.C. are seeing a slight increase in their 2018 property assessment notices compared to last year’s assessment.
“Most homeowners in the northern B.C. will see changes in the -10 per cent to +10 per cent range,” said deputy assessor David Keough.
In Houston, homeowners are seeing an average increase of approximately 0.2 per cent, along with Fraser Lake.
Homeowners in Burns Lake are seeing a slight increase of six per cent while homeowners in Vanderhoof are seeing a slight decrease of 0.6 per cent.
Smithers is seeing a 3.5 per cent average increase while Fort St. James is seeing an average increase of 2.9 per cent.
However, some homeowners are seeing increases or decreases outside of this range, including Granisle (+30 to +45 per cent) and Kitimat (-15 to -25 per cent).
Commercial property owners in the region are seeing increases in the range of zero to 10 per cent.
Changes in property assessments reflect movement in the local real estate market and can vary greatly from property to property. When estimating a property’s market value, BC Assessment’s professional appraisers analyze current sales in the area, as well as considering other characteristics such as size, age, quality, condition, view and location.
BC Assessment’s website at bcassessment.ca includes more details about 2018 assessments, property information and trends such as lists of 2018’s top valued residential properties across the province.
The website also provides self-service access to a free, online property assessment search service that allows anyone to search, check and compare 2018 property assessments for anywhere in the province.
“Property owners can find a lot of information on our website including answers to many assessment-related questions, but those who feel that their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2017 or see incorrect information on their notice, should contact BC Assessment as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January,” said Keough.
If a property owner is still concerned about their assessment after speaking to one of BC Assessment appraisers, they may submit a notice of complaint by Jan. 31 for an opportunity to present their information in front of a property assessment review panel.
The property assessment review panels, independent of BC Assessment, are appointed annually by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and typically meet between Feb. 1 and March 15 to hear formal complaints.
According to BC Assessment, over 98 per cent of property owners typically accept their property assessment without proceeding to a formal, independent review of their assessment.
Overall, the northern B.C. region’s total assessments increased from $60.3 billion in 2017 to $61.8 billion this year. Approximately $1.5 billion of the region’s updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions and rezoning of properties.
Assessments are the estimate of a property’s market value as of July 1, 2017 and physical condition as of October 31, 2017.
Local governments and other taxing authorities are responsible for property taxation and, after determining their own budget needs this spring, will calculate property tax rates based on the assessment roll for their jurisdiction.