Robust market means rise in assessments for many

Property assessment notices are in the mail and homeowners are uneasily opening letters from the BC Assessment authority.

Property assessment notices are in the mail and homeowners are uneasily opening letters from the BC Assessment authority.

These notices reflect the market value of Vancouver Island properties as of July 1, 2015 and a busy season of home sales last year has made a difference in values, according to regional assessor Reuben Danakody.

“The majority of residential home assessments within the region are shifting between minus five per cent to plus 10 per cent, compared to last year’s assessments,” he said.

“Notably, a robust real estate market over the past year resulted in assessment increases for many properties in the Vancouver Island Region.”

As B.C.’s trusted, go-to provider of property information, BC Assessment collects, monitors and analyzes property data throughout the year.

Changes in assessments for single family residential detached homes in both rural and urban areas have typically ranged between minus five and plus 10 per cent, as have strata residential homes (both detached and condominium style).

However, assessments for commercial and industrial properties have not swung as widely, with changes only ranging from minus five to plus five per cent on July 1, 2015.

Overall, the Vancouver Island Region’s total assessments increased from $163.96 billion in 2015 to $170.15 billion this year, Danakody said.

The Island is a busy place, drawing lots of interest from developers of all kinds.

“A total of almost $2.24 billion of the region’s updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions and rezoning of properties,” he said.

The Assessment Authority divides the Vancouver Island Region into separate sections, namely: Greater Victoria, South Island, Central Island, North Island, West Coast, Northern and Southern Gulf Islands and Powell River.

A typical North Cowichan house assessment has gone up to $320,200 from 312,000 in 2014.

In Duncan, the typical home, which had been assessed at 245,100 on July 1, 2014 was $254,200 a year later while in Ladysmith, it’s gone to $285,400 from $299,300 the previous year.

In an area called Cowichan Rural, average assessments have risen to $384,300 from $362,400 in 2014.

In Lake Cowichan, the typical home was assessed at $208,100 but has now risen to $210,400 while in the area called Lake Cowichan Rural, the average property has risen to $299,500 from $285,100 as of July 1, 2014.

Danakody also noted that BC Assessment has launched a newly enhanced website at bcassessment.ca that includes more details about 2016 assessments, property information and trends such as lists of 2016’s top most valuable residential properties across the province.

The website also provides self-service access to the free online e-valueBC service that allows anyone to search, check and compare 2016 property assessments anywhere in the province.

“Property owners can access useful information on our website including answers to many assessment related questions. Those who feel that their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2015 or see incorrect information on their notice, should contact BC Assessment as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January,” he said, adding, “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 Feb. 1, for an independent review by a property assessment review panel.”

These panels, independent of BC Assessment, are appointed annually by the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, and typically meet between Feb. 1 and March 15 to hear formal complaints.

According to BC Assessment, more than 98 per cent of property owners typically accept their property assessment without proceeding to a formal, independent review.

Assessments are the estimate of a property’s market value as of July 1, 2015 and physical condition as of Oct. 31, 2015. This common valuation date ensures there is an equitable property assessment base for property taxation.

The Vancouver Island Region Assessment offices are located at: #102-3350 Douglas St., Victoria, B.C. V8Z 7X9; and #300-125 Wallace St., Nanaimo, B.C., V9R 5B2.

Property owners can contact BC Assessment toll-free at 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322) or online at bcasssessment.ca