While property assessments are reasonably stable across the Island, a lot of Cowichan Valley homeowners, including those at Cowichan Lake, will find their home value has increased. (Submitted)

Property assessments reasonably stable on Island, but up for many Cowichan residents

It’s time to act if you want to appeal your property assessment

Cowichan Valley property owners have been checking their 2020 assessment notices this week, after a recent mailout from the BC Assessment Authority.

These notices reflect market value as of July 1, 2019 and show stability in the real estate market.

“The market has stabilized in most areas of Vancouver Island this year,” Vancouver Island assessor Tina Ireland said. “In the south part of Vancouver Island, the majority of residential property values are moving, from between five per cent down to five per cent up, while up-Island the value increases are a little higher. The commercial and industrial markets are generally showing increases over last year’s assessments.”

Assessments for residential single detached homes on Vancouver Island’s south island area can be anywhere from 10 per cent down to 10 per cent up, while for central Vancouver Island, the change is from five per cent down to 15 per cent up.

When it comes to residential strata units like condominiums, the south end of the Island is more stable: (from five per cent down to 10 per cent up) while farther north, there’s more action with assessments showing changes of from five per cent down to 20 per cent up.

Commercial and light industrial properties are showing similar ranges (from five per cent down to 25 per cent up).

Looking at the percentage of change for single family homes in the central island area, figures from the Authority show there’s been increases across the board.

The District of North Cowichan’s typical home as of July 1, 2018 was assessed at $430,000. That’s now up to $460,000, an increase of seven per cent.

Meanwhile, in the City of Duncan, a typical home, assessed at $349,000 in 2018, is now up six per cent to $369,000.

In the Town of Ladysmith, a 2018 assessment of $426,000 is now up to $445,000, an increase of five per cent.

In the Town of Lake Cowichan, which has traditionally seen lower home prices, there’s a similar trend, with a typical home assessed at $327,000 on July 1, 2018 now up four per cent to $340,000.

With the notable exceptions of the cities of Campbell River and Courtenay, assessments for strata residential properties have not changed as much, so owners of these types of homes in the Cowichan Valley should not see big increases.

Overall, according to BC Assessment, “Vancouver Island’s total assessments increased from about $246 billion in 2019 to $255 billion this year. A total of almost $4.14 billion of the region’s updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions and rezoning of properties.” BC Assessment’s Vancouver Island region includes all communities located within Greater Victoria, South Island, Central Island, North Island, West Coast, Northern and Southern Gulf Islands and Powell River.

BC Assessment’s website at bcassessment.ca includes more details about 2020 assessments, property information and trends such as lists of 2020’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 2020 property assessments for anywhere in the province. Property owners can unlock additional property search features by registering for a free BC Assessment custom account to check a property’s 10-year value history, store/access favourites, create comparisons, monitor neighbourhood sales, and use the interactive map. New for 2020, the website is fully mobile-friendly.

“Property owners can find a lot of valuable 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, 2019 or see incorrect information on their notice, should contact BC Assessment as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January,” Ireland said.

“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 Jan. 31, for an independent review by a property assessment review panel,” she said.

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.

“It is important to understand that changes in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding change in property taxes,” Ireland explained. “As indicated on your assessment notice, how your assessment changes relative to the average change in your community is what may affect your property taxes.”

Have you got further questions?

Property owners can contact BC Assessment toll-free at 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322) or online at bcassessment.ca. During the month of January, office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.

It’s interesting to note that B.C.’s highest-assessed single residential property for 2020 is valued at $64.9 million. It is located in Vancouver.

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