Letter: Current home assessment and taxation system is unsustainable

Changes needed to prevent unfair increases to property values

What a surprise. My 2016 land and house assessment climbed by a value of 45 per cent.

This cannot represent a change in local real estate values based on the local economy.

Speculative money from elsewhere must be responsible. Certainly anyone I have talked to hasn’t had a windfall of 45 per cent increase in wages, benefits, pension or investment income in 2016.

Municipal budgets must be covered by local homeowners, but I can assure everyone that municipal employees enjoy pay and benefit increases tied to core inflation rates of around two per cent per year. How can the same government agencies base tax increases on the volatile real estate market of 2016?

My real estate tax assessment for 2016 does not represent my ability to pay. These increased property values only represent a number on paper that propels inflationary housing values for taxation.

The B.C. Assessment Authority could be dismantled and all municipalities use core inflation rates for existing houses in line with the values used to award pay and benefit increases for their own employee base. Budget issues above the core inflation rate would have to be justified and affordable.

Simple mathematics could add the value of houses sold in the municipality in 2016 averaged with all the housing inventory not sold in the same year. The much larger housing inventory not sold in the same year could be valued by their previous year real estate tax assessment. Any value bubbles or unrealistic market increases would be controlled and truly averaged with values for all existing houses, including those not sold.

The present system invites abuse of increasing values for taxation purposes. Unless all houses within the same municipality increase at the same rate, across the board, inequality becomes assured.

I am a retired Oak Bay resident concerned about spiralling housing and rent inflation in Greater Victoria. Younger people, especially those earning a living in our local economy, are losing hope of ever owning a home or renting longer term.

This process is unsustainable.

John Eldridge

Oak Bay

 

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