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!!
Prudential Sussex Realty
2996 Lonsdale Avenue
North Vancouver, B.C.
Toll Free 1-888-682-9711
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