Still Time to appeal your Property Assessment!

I’ve been having discussion with many clients lately that are confused as to why their property assessments have gone down, or in more cases up, which generally means they’ll be paying more dollars in property taxes. Especially when last year sales were down in real estate 25% to 30% on average across all markets and on apartments, townhomes, and single family homes. Of course housing prices only dropped 3% to 5% overall  as many sellers did not “have to” sell or were unwilling to sell and take a deeper cut to their home equity. By the way, to put those sales numbers into perspective, total sales in Greater Vancouver in 2012 were in excess of 25,000 homes, down from the 10 year average of 33,000 homes. I know that the media would have you believe that market “died” last year, they like to talk about an impending “crash” and use scary words like this to increase the hype. 25,000 home sales is still very significant.  


Anyway back to my topic of assessed values.


There was an article in the North Shore News this last weekend featuring a gentleman living in the boulevard area, that was questioning why his assessed value has gone up this year in light of the kind of market we had last year. Not only that but he had not done any improvements to his home in the last couple of years. His home is on Sutherland Avenue which is the  dividing line between the District of North Vancouver and the City of North Vancouver. Ironically the houses across the street did not go up in value according to the assessment authority. Same neighbourhood and in some cases nicer houses with recent upgrades.


 It’s true that they base the new assessed value on homes up to July 1st of the previous year. The market was very active until May last year, when the slow decline started. I find that interesting since many spring markets in Greater Vancouver are very active and this pattern is repeated  more often than not. So how do they account for the slow fall that happened in 2011 which should have affected this current assessment, and the same in 2012, which should affect the 2014 assessed values.

All good questions that you should ask your BC assessment property appraiser, I’ve posted the link to the BC assessment site below. You have until January 31st to file an appeal of your property assessment, while many people seem to be confused about how the assessment authorities arrive at the numbers and sometimes do not agree with their assessment, less than 2% of homeowners go through the appeal process.       


One other thing that I should point out is that if you are thinking of selling in the near future, some believe that it may be wise to leave well enough alone. If your assesses value has gone up it might artificially help drive the market up. I sold a home in Vancouver West last year that had gone up in assessed value over $400,000 dollars, from approximately  $1.1 million to over $1.5 million, and yes they realized the profit in their home sale.


Call me if you’d like to discuss the reasons why this is happening, I have an opinion. If you like some help to appeal your assessment I may be able to supply some information to help you win your appeal!!



Garth Raven

Prudential Sussex Realty

2996 Lonsdale Avenue

North Vancouver, B.C.

Cell 604-340-2212

Office 604-984-9711

Toll Free 1-888-682-9711



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Market update!!


As most of you have heard, sales in the Vancouver real estate market have been down this year, the numbers vary from area to area. The strata market has been soft, while single family homes and building lots have been significantly better, again depending on the area.

The media types have been talking about a so called bubble, and a correction in the real estate market, as if there will be some dramatic shift in prices one day. I believe this is a misnomer. To the contrary, we’ve seen small corrections happening every day over the last few months to compensate for the smaller number of sales, as opposed to a sudden price drop. So in effect, the correction has already and is already happening on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean that it could not correct more, or less as time goes on. Some buyers believe that because of the slow market, they should automatically submit low ball offers assuming that home sellers should be desperately trying to sell and escape the market before this correction, however again this is wrong thinking, as there is a good chance that new home sellers entering the market have priced their home correctly, given the current circumstances.


 I believe that because the interest rates have been so low for so long now, a lot of the new home buyers that could buy, did buy in the last couple of years, leaving a lack of new home buyers to drive the entry level market. There are however still a small number of new home buyers entering the market all of the time, and of course folks upsizing and downsizing, to continually add some buoyancy to our market.


Despite the market sales being lower this year, I’ve been very fortunate, so thank you friends, family, and valued clients!!   



All the Best!



Who's Doing  High Fives Now?    SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER, 2007

If you think lenders make too much money, you are not alone........ However, it's very likely that you, the borrower, are an eager participant in all those profits. Billions of dollars are literally given away to the banks each year because of consumer  pathy. Lenders know this and in fact they "bank" on it. What do we mean?
Well, a recent survey conducted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reveals that despite all the new mortgage products on the market, people looking to renew their mortgage will more often than not, revert back to their current lender. In fact, according to the report, 81% of them did. Does this make sense when the competition could be offering lower interest rates and better terms? It doesn't. There is some good news though. This same survey indicates that consumers are shopping around slightly more than they were in the past. People that were renewing their mortgage were faithful to their financial institution to the tune of 88% in 2000. By 2006 this dropped 7 percentage points.
This decline in lender loyalty was also very evident in repeat home buyers and people that refinanced their mortgage because of wanting extra cash to make home  enovations or consolidate debt. In 2006 only 65% of these consumers went back to their current provider – well down from what it was in previous years. The only category that remained relatively stable was first-time home buyers.

57% of these buyers financed through their banking institution in 2000 and this remained almost constant - 58% in 2006. It would appear that first-time buyers are savvy and cautious when it comes to mortgage debt. Initially, they do their

research diligently when it comes to comparing lenders and what they can offer. However, these very same buyers that were so careful at the start, oon join the ranks of those that are "too busy" at mortgage renewal time to check out and compare lenders. Most people know that banking is a business. However, not all acknowledge that bank

employees are paid to look after the bank's best interests – not yours. In fact these employees have quotas to fill – big quotas! It is amazing that people will go to seminars sponsored by Lenders and expect to be told how to negotiate the best mortgage deal for themselves.  Puh-leeze! That's like inviting a fox to the chicken coop to tell the chickens how to avoid getting eaten by him. It makes no sense whatsoever, yet that is exactly what people do. Even more remarkable is the fact that these potential customers believe they are getting sound and unbiased information and actually act on the

advice given by the fox. This can be a very costly mistake. 

However, let us explore mortgage renewal in greater detail.
Mortgage funding is extremely competitive. Lenders spend an enormous amount of money just to get mortgage business in the first place and they certainly don't want to lose customers now or at any time in the future.
If homeowners would just take a few hours and shop around for several proposals from different lending institutions when their mortgage term is up, they might be pleasantly surprised about their findings. The chances are that they would quite possibly receive an offer from another Lender that is better in both interest rates and/or terms provided.
Lenders may even pay for all the set-up, transfer and legal fees when the mortgage business is transferred to them. Once a homeowner has different options in hand, the power to choose becomes theirs. They can accept this new favorable proposal or have their current lender match or better it. Odds are, your lender isn't going to be
willing to give up your business without a fight.
How much actual cash could be saved by keeping Lenders honest? Well, let's figure it out. A $300,000 mortgage calculated at 6% over a 25 year amortization period works out to monthly payments of $1,919.42. Conversely, at 5.5% and using the same criteria, the payments are $1,831.18. The difference is $88.24 per month. Now multiply that by 60 (five years of monthly payments) and you will see that by negotiating a better rate, rather than blindly accepting the first offer, you have saved $5,294.40. Really, with a little investigative effort, you could have put a stash of cash in your jeans or made a handsome contribution towards paying off your mortgage. Instead of the Lenders' CEO's counting profits and doing high fives around the boardroom table because of consumer apathy, you could be going on vacation. You may be trained to be loyal but hopefully, not tamed! Next time . . . shop around!
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