Metro Vancouver assessed home values set to take off in 2016

Single-family homes in Vancouver will see increases in assessed value of 15 to 25 per cent in 2016, according to BC Assesment.

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann , PNG

METRO VANCOUVER -- Single-family home owners in Vancouver and the surrounding area should be prepared for significant increases in property assessments in January, according to BC Assessment.

Jason Grant, the Greater Vancouver regional assessor, said Thursday that homeowners can expect increases of 15 to 25 per cent when assessment notices are mailed out early in 2016. Owners of strata-title condominiums can expect increases of five to 10 per cent.

“The changes in particular for single-family dwellings will be some of the highest increases we’ve seen for many years for Vancouver and the surrounding communities,” Grant said.

He didn’t know whether a single-year increase of up to 25 per cent in assessed values would be a record for Metro Vancouver.

About two million property assessments will be sent to property owners throughout B.C. in January. BC Assessment is a publicly-owned Crown corporation that provides property assessments and collects property information.

Elsewhere in B.C., assessed values are likely to remain stable or see an increase of up to 10 per cent, he said.

“There is no question that at the top end of the increases, you’ll find that higher range in Vancouver residential properties,” Grant said.

He said BC Assessment was releasing the information now to let property owners know what’s coming in 2016. The increase in assessed values, he said, shouldn’t come as a surprise given how much houses are being sold for in the region.

“It’s the market that creates property value,” he said. “BC Assessment’s role is to simply to follow and report on the market movement every year.”

Earlier this January, data supplied by BC Assessment for Vancouver indicated that the assessment for a typical east side, two-bedroom condo increased by 4.7 per cent, while the assessment on a detached home on the west side increased by 7.5 per cent.

“When assessments change dramatically, history shows us that taxing jurisdictions respond by adjusting their tax rates to only collect the amount of taxes required to operate their respective budgets,” Grant said.

Assessment notices sent this coming January will reflect values as of July 1, 2015.

Thomas Davidoff, a business professor at the University of B.C., said the continued increase in assessments is remarkable.

He said if some of the rise in values is being driven by demand from outside of Canada, that’s not necessarily a negative.

“It is only a bad thing if public policy is not creative,” he said.

“I don’t think the answer is to forbid it at all. The answer may be to tax. If people buy luxury properties who are not big time Canadian taxpayers, why not say, ‘OK, you’re going to pay a three or two or 1½ (times the) property tax rate?’”

He compared Vancouver to Robinson Crusoe on a desert island. If a cruise ship full of rich people anchored offshore, would the answer be to throw sticks at them? Or would it be better to recognize that they have money, we have land, and to arrange trade that’s beneficial to both sides?

“I do not like the nativist, anti-immigrant attitude you hear from some people,” he said. “I was on a radio call in show yesterday and people said terrible, terrible things.”


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