Thursday, January 2, 2020

Greater Victoria home values mostly dip slightly or stay same in latest assessment


Most of Greater Victoria’s 13 municipalities saw the typical assessed value of single-family homes either drop or stay the same as last year, according to information released Thursday by B.C. Assessment.

The 2020 property assessment roll details the assessed values of about 374,600 properties on the Island and more than two million provincewide.

It shows the residential property values for a typical single-family home dropped by as much as six per cent in Oak Bay, while homes in Highlands and Central Saanich saw no change.

Only Langford, Sooke and View Royal saw increases in the typical assessment. All other municipalities saw values drop.

That should come as no surprise to property owners after B.C. Assessment warned last month values could drop by as much as 10 per cent in some areas of Greater Victoria due to a softening of the real estate market.

The Crown agency said some single-family homeowners could see increases of as much as five per cent.

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

The west coast of the Island saw the largest increase this year, with Tofino seeing a 15 per cent increase in the assessment of a typical single-family home to $883,500 and Ucluelet seeing an 11 per cent increase to $445,000.

In Greater Victoria the greatest increase in assessed value was three per cent in Sooke where the typical home was valued at $517,000 as of July 1. Oak Bay saw the greatest decrease, six per cent, to $1.14 million.

The most highly assessed property in the region was once again James Island, at $56.47 million as of July 1, 2019. In the previous assessment, the island was valued at $56.76 million.

The most valuable single-family home is once again 3160 Humber Rd. in Oak Bay, assessed at $15.2 million, versus $16.16 million a year earlier.

The most valuable commercial property on the Island is Mayfair shopping centre which is valued at $306 million, while Hillside Centre ranks second at $270 million.

Catalyst’s Crofton paper mill, assessed at $133 million, is the most valuable industrial property on the Island followed by Victoria International Airport at $131 million.

Assessment notices will start to appear in mailboxes this week, and are available online now at bcassessment.ca.

The assessment is an estimate of a property’s market value as of July 1, 2019 and physical condition as of Oct. 31, 2019.

According to B.C. Assessment, changes in property value reflect movement in the market and can vary greatly from property to property.

Assessors take into account current sales in an area as well as the size, age, quality, condition, view and location of a property.

The entire Island roll increased in value this year to $255 billion from $246.9 billion in 2019. About $4.14 billion of the Island’s assessments reflect new construction, subdivisions and rezoning of properties.

The total value of real estate in B.C. — there were 2,091,135 properties on this year’s roll — is over $1.94 trillion, a decrease of 2.5 per cent from last year.

B.C. Assessment said 98 per cent of property owners accept their assessment without an independent review.

Ireland said the rate of assessment appeals has remained steady at below two per cent over the past 10 to 15 years, regardless of market activity.

“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 B.C. Assessment as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January,” Ireland said.

Property owners may submit a notice of complaint by Jan. 31 to ask for an independent review by a property assessment review panel.

The panels, appointed annually by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, typically meet between Feb. 1 and March 15 to hear complaints.

Increases in assessments do not necessarily mean an increase in property taxes, Ireland said.

“How your assessment changes relative to the average change in your community is what may affect your property taxes,” she said.

B.C. Assessment can be reached at 1-866-825-8322. Information is also available online at bcassessment.ca.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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