Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | January 4, 2011

Property Assessments Climb

A chunk of the Highlands, a slice of Saanich, and Sidney have come in with the highest percentage increases in residential market value year-over-year in Greater Victoria, according to new B.C. Assessment data.

All capital region areas saw residential values climb in January 2011 compared with January of last year.

Assessed values for all 1.9 million properties in the province have been posted on B.C. Assessment’s website.

More detailed information on neighbourhoods and provincial statistics will be released by the Crown corporation today. This will include the total value of local and provincial assessment rolls, year-over-year changes in assessment values in municipalities and the value of new construction.

The two million owners (this number is higher than the number of properties because a property can have more than one owner) will start receiving assessment notices in the mail this week. For most properties, B.C. Assessment shows the assessed value as of July 1 of the previous year.

Computer users can go to www.bcassessment.bc.ca to see their assessment, do comparisons with others nearby, and look at property sales in the past year.

Greater Victoria has more than 140,000 properties, valued by B.C. Assessment in January 2010 at $88.167 billion. Provincially, the assessment roll reached $969 billion in January 2010.

If a property’s assessment goes up, that does not always mean municipal taxes will increase. What typically makes the difference is if an assessment rises or falls beyond the average.

The market value of the portion of Highlands within School District 62 climbed by seven per cent in January 2011 compared with January 2010, a map posted on B.C. Assessment’s website showed Monday. That was the highest percentage increase in Greater Victoria. Actual dollar values for the various areas were not shown.

The part of Saanich within School District 61 increased by 6.77 per cent, followed by Sidney at 6.39 per cent.

North Saanich — home to some of the region’s highest-valued properties — had the lowest increase at 1.05 per cent.

B.C. Assessment appraisers take into account such criteria as size, age, quality, condition and location of individual properties when determining the value of a property.

This year’s deadline to appeal assessments is Jan. 31. If property owners don’t agree with their assessments, B.C. Assessment encourages them to call or visit its office to try to resolve the matter.

But keep in mind, assessed values do not necessarily reflect a property’s value. I’ve seen assessments above, below or at the same level as market values. I think the only way you know exactly what your house is worth is what somebody is willing to pay for it.

Greater Victoria housing prices are among the strongest in Canada. The average price for a single-family house in November was $636,634 and the median (mid-way point) was $530,000.

“I think it is going to be a year of stability,” said Dennis Fimrite, Victoria Real Estate Board president. “I think [prices will] click along and probably gain two to five per cent over the year.”

Assessments are several months old by the time they are released to property owners, he said. They don’t necessarily have much to do with a home’s current market value, although average prices have been stable for the past six to eight months, he said.

Normally, the market value would be higher than assessed value because over time, real estate values generally go up, Fimrite said.

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