Earlier this month, BC Assessments (BCA) began sending out their 2016 Assessment Notices to all owners of property in British Columbia. On these assessments is an estimation of your home’s value as of July 1, 2015 (or as of October 31, 2015 in the case of new construction or substantially renovated properties). This number often raises a variety of questions.
In very general terms, the Greater Vancouver area (which includes the Sea-to-Sky) showed significant increases when compared to 2015. The total value of properties in 2015 was $546.7 Billion. In 2016 it was $636.2 Billion and a total of almost $8.3 Billion was added through subdivisions, rezoning, and new construction.
BC Assessments is a publicly owned provincial Crown corporation. They are responsible for determining and reporting property value estimates for the 1,996,112 properties in its database (interestingly, this database grew by 1.06% in 2015).
BCA has been responsible for producing the assessment roll since 1974.
BC Assessments and your real estate agent may have very different numbers in mind and this is completely normal. Your Assessment is a very broad brush and in a rapidly changing market (such as Whistler or Pemberton) it can be out-of-date by the time you receive your assessment – markets can completely change between July when your property was appraised and January when you receive your assessment in the mail.
Your real estate agent, on the other hand, can give you an in-the-moment estimation of your property’s value based on current and relevant sales statistics.
Both real estate agents and BC Assessments look at a variety of factors to determine property value. These include, but are not limited to, comparable sales and current listings, the size of the home, location, number of bedrooms, age, number of floors, updates/renovations, etc.
Local and provincial taxing authorities are responsible for determining your 2016 property taxes. Once they have figured out their budget requirements, they will use the assessment roll for their jurisdiction to calculate property tax rates in the spring once the assessment roll has been finalized.
A change in your assessment will not necessarily mean a change (or proportional change) in your property taxes.
If you visit e-Value BC you can look up your property and compare it to other homes in your neighbourhood. The website will allow you to look as property details, total assessed values, last year’s values, and more. If you notice any incorrect details, these should be reported to BC Assessments right away.
If you have any concerns at all about your property assessment, you should contact BC Assessments as soon as possible. If you would like to appeal your assessment, you have until February 1, 2016 to do so. You can do so by filling out a ‘Notice of Complaint (Appeal) Form‘ on the BC Assessments website.