Home values to drop significantly in some parts of B.C.; most assessments largely unchanged

This year, for the first time in many years, a number of homeowners in some areas of B.C. will see a drop in their property assessment, B.C. Assessment said Wednesday.

The most significant decreases will be seen in Whistler, Pemberton, on the Sunshine Coast and on Bowen Island, said Jason Grant, B.C. Assessment Authority assessor for the Vancouver Sea to Sky region.

“In stark contrast to last year, where (more than) 25-per-cent increases weren’t unusual, most residential homeowners (in Vancouver Sea to Sky) will open their assessment this year and say, ‘I’m within about five per cent … of where I was last year,’” said Grant McDonald, deputy assessor for B.C. Assessment’s Vancouver Sea to Sky region.

“Looking at the city of Vancouver, if you drew a graph for a 10-year period from 2002 to 2012, it pretty much is a very steep curve in terms of value increases, with a blip in 2008 when values appeared to be falling a bit. Now it has sort of flattened off; the market is taking a bit of a breather.”

Last year, homeowners in some areas of Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby saw their assessments rise as much as 30 per cent, while some areas, such as Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton saw decreases of 10 to 15 per cent.

“Some of the markets that saw some pretty good run ups in prices in 2011, saw a kind of floating back to earth in 2012,” said Cameron Muir, B.C. Real Estate Association chief economist. “For example, we’ve seen the single-family, detached-home market on the west side of Vancouver show more softness after a relatively strong 2011.”

Property assessments for a given year reflect market value as of July 1 the previous year. B.C. Assessment does not provide averages, but it did provide some specific “representative examples” of properties and how much their values changed this year.

A 50-foot, single family lot on Vancouver’s west side that was assessed at $1,645,400 in 2012 is assessed at $1,622,900 for 2013, a drop of 1.3 per cent. A single-family home on a 33-foot lot on the west side of Vancouver is assessed at $1,256,200, a drop of 5.8 per cent compared to a 2012 assessment of $1,329,600.

On the city’s east side, a 33-foot single-family lot assessed at $1,031,300 last year is assessed at $1,081,700 this year, an increase of 4.9 per cent.

In Whistler, a single-family dwelling in Alpine Meadows that was assessed at $2,252,000 last year is assessed at $2,145,000 this year, a drop of 4.8 per cent. In Whistler Village, a two-bedroom apartment that was assessed at $491,000 last year is assessed at $429,000 this year, a drop of 12.6 per cent.


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