West Boundary property assessments fluctuate significantly

Property owners should have all received their assessments, and some may have been surprised by the information provided by BC Assessment.

Property values throughout West Boundary fluctuated significantly during the most recent assessment, conducted in July of 2015. By now, property owners should have all received their assessments, and some may have been surprised by the information provided by BC Assessment. Some rural properties, for instance, dropped dramatically from the year before; a small acreage holder in Bridesville, for instance, reported that his 2.8-hectare hobby farm (agricultural holdings are generally assessed lower for taxation purposes) dropped in assessed value by a whopping $35,000, while others reported much more modest fluctuations.

In Greenwood, property values rose by as much as five per cent, with the average increase coming in at just over two per cent. One owner noted that his property assessment rose by nearly six percent, his sharpest increase since 2010. Over in nearby Midway, the story was fairly similary, although the average assessed value in that community rose by less than two percent.

The information on property values comes from the 2016 B.C. Assessment, which was released in early January. The assessment develops and maintains real property assessments throughout British Columbia in addition to providing real property information.

According to the BC Assessment website, the assessments are in compliance with the Assessment Act, which requires that properties be assessed as of July 1 of each year. To do this, BC Assessment produces assessment information annually to provide tax authorities with a tax base and other information collecting about property.

According to the site, property values are assessed by taking into account a number of factors such as location, age of home, size of home, size of lot, miscellanous features, comparable sales prices and other real estate information. The information is gathered from a number of sources such as building permits, land titles, real estate transactions, on-site inspections, aerial and street front imagery, and owner reporting.

Assessments are completed by July 1 and mailed to property owners in January. Assessments can also be viewed online at evalueBC, which is on the bcassessment.ca website. Property owners can also check out the assessments of neighbouring properties for comparison. Residents can also call 1-866-ValueBC with any questions. Anyone wishing to appeal their assessment has until Feb. 1 to file an appeal. The assessments are used to determine property taxes.

“The value of all real estate on the annual provincial assessment roll is more than $1.3 trillion and provides the foundation for local and provincial taxing authorities to finance communities with billions of dollars in property tax revenue,” said the website.

A total of 1,996,112 properties were assessed this year, up 1.06 per cent from the year before. The total value of real estate assessed in B.C., $1.34 trillion, is up 11.1 per cent from the previous year. The value of new construction, subdivisions and rezonings was $20.36 billion, up 8.9 per cent.

In the Kootenay-Columbia region, owners of more than 142,000 properties will be receiving their assessments this month.

“The majority of residential homeowners within the region can expect an increase compared to last year’s assessments,” said Ramaish Shah, Kootenay Columbia Region deputy assessor, in a press release. “Most homeowners in the Kootenay Columbia region will see modest increases depending on their location. For example, a typical single family home in Nelson that was previously assessed at $315,000 was valued at $333,000 in the summer of 2015.”

The typical percentage change in value (as of July 1) has increased from 0 to +10 per cent for residential single family homes and residential strata units such as condos, and -5 to +5 per cent for commercial and light industrial. Overall, the Kootenay Columbia region’s assessment roll increased from $36.97 billion in 2015 to $37.89 billion this year.

A press release stated that value reflects a change due to market movement as well as $361 million in growth due to subdivisions, rezoning and new construction. The Kootenay Columbia region includes the southeast portion of the province from Cranbrook to Grand Forks and from Trail to Golden.

The 2016 assessment roll (market value as of July 1, 2015) estimated value for single family residential properties in the City of Grand Forks is $194,000, up from $189,000 in 2015. By comparison, Trail is $155,000, down from $166,000 in 2015; Nelson is $333,000, up from $315,000; Greenwood is the lowest valued at $125,000, which is actually up from 2015’s $121,000; Midway is $176,000, up from $173,000 in 2015; and Castlegar is $264,000, up from $254,000 in 2015.

Although there are no estimated average values for RDKB rural areas, Shah said Area D/Rural Grand Forks properties are up an average of 5 to 10 per cent from last year, while Area C/Christina Lake is up 10 to 15 per cent.

Shah urges property owners to go the BC Assessment website and compare assessments with their neighbours. “Property owners can find a lot of 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, 2015 or see incorrect information on their notice, should contact BC Assessment as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January,” said Shah.

“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.”

With files by Craig Lindsay,

Grand Forks Gazette