This year will be one of moderation for most of the province’s housing market due to a sluggish 2019, according to B.C.’s latest property assessments.
On Thursday, BC Assessment sent out its annual property assessments in the mail to individual homeowners and published regional results online. The projections are based on what was happening in the real estate market as of July 1, 2019.
The agency assessed slightly more than two million properties in its latest report, marking a one-per-cent increase from the year prior. But due to a slower year for the province’s real estate market, the overall value dipped 2.5 per cent to $1.94 trillion, the agency said.
Locally, properties in the Bella Coola Valley went up 3.34 percent in Bella Coola, from $122,686 to 4126,89, and 5.97 percent in Hagensborg, from $184, 620 to $195,648. A home in Ocean Falls is up this year as well, from $55,832 to $56,419. These are the numbers for what BC Assessment terms a “residential single detached home.”
“The majority of residential home owners within the region can expect a moderate increase compared to last year’s assessment,” says Deputy Assessor Jarret Krantz. “There are some exceptions to this such as Kitimat where owners’s will see increases of 20 per cent or greater. Also, the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality where there have been decreases in the range of 20 per cent or more.”
Overall, Northern BC’s total assessments increased from about $61.5 billion in 2018 to $65.7 billion this year. A total of about $913 million of the region’s updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions and rezoning of properties.
The Northern BC region encompasses approximately 70 per cent of the province stretching east to the Alberta border, north to the Yukon border, west to Bella Coola including Haidi Gwaii and to the south, just north of Clinton.
Within Metro Vancouver, every city or district saw a decrease in single-family residential property value except for Whistler and Pemberton, which saw five-per-cent increases. In Whistler, this brought the average benchmark to more than $2 million, from $1.9 million. In Pemberton, prices increased from $829,000 to $873,000.
West Vancouver saw the largest drop in value, at 16 per cent, with home values dropping from $2.8 million to $2.3 million on average.
On Vancouver Island, the biggest spikes in property value were reported in Tofino and Alert Bay at 15 per cent, the agency said. Tofino’s average home price increased from $767,000 to $883,500 while Alert Bay saw an average increase from $129,000 to $148,000.
In the Thompson-Okanagan Region, the majority of home owners should expect to see an increase in their property value, deputy assessor Tracy Shymko said in a news release.
“Comparing July 2018 and July 2019, home values have risen consistently for most of Kamloops and the Thompson with a few communities seeing increases slightly higher than others, especially in Clinton, Lillooet, Ashcroft and Lytton,” she said.
Lillooet saw the largest spike to property values in the region from $215,0000 to $257,000, or roughly 25 per cent, BC Assessment data shows.
Meanwhile, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Peachland saw one-to-two-per-cent dips.
Region-by-region, properties in Kootenay-Columbia saw the most widespread overall increase, according to BC Assessment, where the only areas to see a dip in value was the Village of Slocan, at one per cent, and the Village of Midway at seven per cent.
Deputy assessor Ramaish Shah said that higher-than-usual demand increased assessed property values in a number of Kootenay villages – the greatest spike in Salmo, at 20 per cent, followed by a 16 per cent increase in Warfield and 11 per cent in Creston.
“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, 2018 or see incorrect information on their notice, should contact BC Assessment as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January,” says Deputy Assessor Jarret Krantz.
“If a property owner is still concerned about their assessment after speaking to one of our appraisers, they may submit a Notice of Complaint (Appeal) by January 31st, for an independent review by a Property Assessment Review Panel,” adds Krantz.
The Property Assessment Review Panels, independent of BC Assessment, are appointed annually by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and typically meet between February 1 and March 15 to hear formal complaints.
“It is important to understand that increases in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding increase in property taxes,” explains Krantz. “How your assessment changes relative to the average change in your community is what may affect your property taxes.”