Property assessments still feeling the heat

Metro Vancouver housing prices may have cooled since the summer, but the real estate market’s heat will linger when homeowners receive their property assessments in January.
Jason Grant, an assessor with BC Assessment, says the preliminary analysis for 2017 property assessments indicates values will be going up 30 to 50 per cent for single family homes in Burnaby, Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, the Tri-Cities and the North Shore. Assessments for strata homes will increase 15 to 30 per cent.

Property assessments are a component of the formula used by BC municipalities to set property taxes.
Property assessments in BC are set on July 1, when the real estate market was still hot.

 
Property assessments are set on July 1. That’s when BC Assessment estimates the market value of residential, commercial and industrial properties across the province. They do this by analyzing current sales in the immediate area of each property, as well as its size, age, quality, condition, location and view. The notices are sent to homeowners on Jan. 3, 2017.
In July, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported the benchmark price for a typical detached home in Metro Vancouver was 38.7 per cent more than the previous year. The benchmark price for condos had gone up 25.3 per cent.

Property assessments are part of tax calculation

Assessments are used by municipalities as a component of a complicated formula to determine property taxes.
Grant says just because a property’s assessment may increase by 30 per cent, doesn’t mean its property taxes will go up by a corresponding amount.
“Your taxes are actually affected by your assessment changes compared to the average change in your community,” says Grant.
That means, if your assessment went up 30 per cent along but is inline with the average increase in your community, your taxes will likely only go up by whatever rate set by the municipality. But if your assessment went up 50 per cent, compared to the 30 percent average in your community, you could be in for a bigger tax bill.
To avoid sticker shock for any homeowners whose assessments are significantly more than the typical range of change in their area, the BC Assessment office is sending them courtesy notification letters this month.
Most municipalities set their tax rates in May and property taxes are due in early July.
Here’s how various municipalities calculate property taxes: