BC Assessment Notices on Their Way
With BC property assessments on their way and in the mail, it’s safe to say some of us might be feeling a bit crazy over the next weeks. Assessments are set on July 1st of every year, and the notices are then sent out in early January of the following year. Despite the perception that property values have dropped, home owners across the board will be hit with an increasing property value. How much exactly? Well, single family detached homes jumped 30 to 50 per cent around Metro Vancouver, while strata properties went up 15 to 30 per cent. This is a large jump for the single family home specifically, which saw a 12 to 28 per cent increase from previous assessment. For home owners that can’t wait to receive their BC Assessment in the mail, you can always check online at https://evaluebc.bcassessment.ca/
Outside of urban living, the suburbs have seen a heavy increase in property values as well. In the Tricities, Coquitlam has increased by an average of 32.91 percent; Port Moody increased by 31.49 percent; Port Coquitlam increased by 33.86 percent. New Westminster and Surrey also increased by an average of 28.48 percent and 36.26 percent respectively.
So how do they actually assess your home’s value. Well, the agency estimates the market value as of July 1st based on an analysis of current sales in your nearby area and review of home characteristics such as size of home, age, condition, lot size, renovations done through building permits, location, nearby amenities, and view. Don’t worry, a 50 percent increase in assessed value doesn’t typically result in a corresponding 50% increase in property tax. Rather, the increase that a homeowner pays is calculated in line with the community average, and the property tax will likely go up only by the rate set by the municipality to meet its budget.
If you’ve thought about appealing your property assessment you might want to think twice. We’ve heard some concerns regarding the assessment being taken from July 1st, 2016 – before the foreign buyer tax was announced. However, when appealing it’s not the change in your value that counts, it’s strictly the value at the time of the valuation, (unfortunately for us this year) always being July 1st. Property value decreasing since July 1st, 2016 is not enough grounds to appeal your assessment. There are two arguments for an appeal: either that the assessed market value of your property is too high based on comparable sales at July 1st, or that you were unfairly assessed in comparison to your neighbours at July 1st.
Keep in mind that you should be aware of the risks. According to BC Assessment, a number of homes have been under-assessed in the past and so they are having to play catch up. If you do appeal, you run the risk of the assessor determining that they actually under-assessed your property at the time of July 1, 2016 and you may end up paying even more. You also have to keep in mind that the majority of the increase in Greater Vancouver, specifically Metro Vancouver, is based on land value rather than the interior or exterior quality of your home.
Your best bet to an appeal is to present better evidence than the initial assessor. Do your research and check out the e-valueBC website to compare your assessment with your neighbours and/or similar homes in your area. If you want a second opinion before you do your appeal, feel free to give us a call and we can do a comparative market analysis of your home to help. The deadline to appeal your assessment is January 31, 2017, and appeals are heard between February 1st, 2017 and March 15, 2017.
For more details on how BC Assessment and how they assess properties, check out the video below!
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