Property assessments won’t change much

  • Jan. 9, 2009 5:00 p.m.

Property owners on the islands will be receiving their annual assessment notices in the mail by next week – and most won’t notice much of a change in the value of their land and buildings. That’s because of new legislation from the BC government, says northwest area deputy assessor Bradley Lane. The legislation says that an owner’s official assessment for this year is either their 2008 or 2009 assessment, whichever one is lower. “The news for most people is their assessment is going to look exactly the same,” Mr. Lane said. “Notices will show the market value of their property as of both July 1, 2007 and July 1, 2008. The lower of these two values is the official 2009 property assessment. For most properties, this means there will be no change between the 2008 and 2009 assessment. The lower value is the basis upon which 2009 property taxes will be calculated.” Mr. Lane said generally, there were only small increases in the real estate market last year. The biggest increases were seen in waterfront properties, particularly in the Masset area. The assessment office did do a detailed re-assessment of properties in Port Clements over the past year. Mr. Lane said the northwest office chooses a few communities every year to focus in on, and this year it was Port Clements and Port Edward. A mail-out was sent to all property owners asking detailed questions about the condition of the house and the age of certain features, and this was followed up by a visit. Mr. Lane said this resulted in a re-evaluation of most Port properties, with some gaining value and others receiving a lowered assessment. According to BC Assessment, the median sale price for a single family house on the islands dropped slightly in the last quarter of 2008 to about $130,000. The median price was highest during the third quarter of 2008 and the second quarter of 2007, at $150,000. It was lowest during the third quarter of 2007, at $100,000. Property owners who feel their assessment does not reflect the market value as of July 1, 2007 or July 1, 2008 should contact the BC Assessment office as indicated on their notice, Mr. Lane said. Owners can compare their assessed value to similar properties at www.bcassessment.ca Paper copies of the latest assessment information are available at most village offices, libraries and government agent’s offices. The new legislation means assessments stay the same for this year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that property taxes won’t go up. The decision whether to raise or lower property taxes will be made by the municipality or regional district over the coming months.