Lower Mainland assessed home values dip after sluggish year for real estate market

Click to play video: 'Sticker shock from 2020 property assessments'
Sticker shock from 2020 property assessments
Assessment BC says property assessments across many parts of BC are down this year, in some cases significantly. Sarah MacDonald has the numbers – Jan 2, 2020

British Columbia property assessment notices are in the mail, and Metro Vancouver homeowners are being told to expect a dip in the value of their properties.

It is the first time in the last 20 years that B.C.’s total property assessment values have gone down, according to BC Assessment.

The biggest drops for detached homes are expected in West Vancouver and the University Endowment Lands (16 per cent), Richmond (14 per cent) and Vancouver, Coquitlam, Port Moody and North Vancouver (11 per cent), according to BC Assessment.

Squamish house values held about flat, while detached homes in Pemberton and Whistler climbed by about five per cent each, the agency said.

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Average changes in assessed value for detached homes in the Lower Mainland for 2020. BC Assessment

In the condo market, BC Assessment says values fell across the board.

West Vancouver again saw the biggest dip (10 per cent), followed by Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, New Westminster and North Vancouver (nine per cent).

Average changes in assessed value for condos in the Lower Mainland for 2020.
Average changes in assessed value for condos in the Lower Mainland for 2020. BC Assessment

“The Lower Mainland residential real estate market continues to see signs of moderation,” BC Assessment deputy assessor Brian Smith said in a media release.

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BC Assessment issues the annual notices, which are used to calculate property taxes, based on the property’s assessed value as of July 1 the previous year.

Click to play video: 'B.C.’s top 5 most expensive residential properties'
B.C.’s top 5 most expensive residential properties

They are based on current sales in a neighbourhood, along with the size, age, quality, condition, view and location of an individual home.

“It is important to understand that changes in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding change in property taxes,” added Smith.

“As noted on your assessment notice, how your assessment changes relative to the average change in your community is what may affect your property taxes.”

Paul Sullivan, Head of the property tax division at appraisal firm Burgess Cawley Sullivan, told CKNW’s The Lynda Steele Show the declining assessments might be good news for people looking to get into the market, but will be far less welcome to those who’ve recently bought in.

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“If you bought a home in the past three years and you did a three year mortgage, which is reasonably common, then you’ve got a problem because you’re going to have to [write] another check to put some equity back in your home that’s been eroded through this value decline,” he said.

Sullivan said significant drop in assessed values for high-end homes will also likely come with property tax implications for people with lower-value homes.

“The higher end values have gone down a lot more on a percentage basis,” said Sullivan. “The lower end values have gone down less. You’re going to see an automatic shift in the tax burden to the lower end homes.”

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Owners who disagree with the valuation of their home can take the assessment to a formal, independent review.

Click to play video: 'Gains and losses in 2019 property assessments'
Gains and losses in 2019 property assessments

Provincewide, BC Assessment assessed properties worth $1.94 trillion, about a 2.5 per cent decrease from last year.

While assessed values are down for 2020, analysts have suggested the Lower Mainland real estate market is heating back up, with home sales and prices expected to begin climbing again this year after a sluggish 2019.

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