For the first time in several years, properties in Vancouver are remaining relatively stable in value, according to the 2013 assessment roll released by B.C. Assessment on Wednesday.
“The thing which is really in contrast to last year is really how stable the roll is,” said Grant McDonald, deputy assessor for the Vancouver Sea to Sky region.
“Last year … saw some fairly hefty increases.”
This trend is a surprising shift considering the 2012 assessment numbers saw the value of Vancouver homes jump by between 10 to 25 per cent.
“I think the majority of people when they open their assessment notice this week, they’re going to look at it and go ‘Hmm, I’m within five per cent of where I was last year,’” said McDonald, adding that values can vary greatly but the Vancouver region saw an overall two per cent increase in the value of residential homes.
Last year’s assessment also saw the West Side outperform the East Side. Although the gap between the two remained large, this year neither saw a big jump.
A West Side single family home on a 33-foot lot went down from $1,329,600 last year to $1,256,200 this year, while an East Side home of the same size increased from $1,031,300 to $1,081,700.
In contrast, a West Side two-bedroom apartment rose in value from $589,000 to $599,000, and an East Side two-bedroom fell slightly from $386,000 to $383,000.
McDonald noted B.C. is on top in determining accurate valuations as one of the few provinces to employ an annual assessment approach. Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba do assessments every four years, while Quebec’s cycle is every three years.
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Alberta rolls are all determined annually too, though some assessments — like Alberta — are coordinated on the municipal level unlike B.C. Assessment, which is a Crown corporation.
Of the 194,800 properties in Vancouver, approximately 690 received “extreme letters” as part of its “no surprises campaign” to notify owners of any major changes.
Market values are determined by a team of professional appraisers that consider the physical condition of a home as of July 1, 2012, home sales, new construction, as well as specific characteristics like location, size, age, quality, renovations and view.
Homeowners have until Jan. 31 to appeal any valuations and can use a feature on the website called e-valueBC to compare assessments with the selling price of properties with similar features in similar neighbourhoods.
“Historically we’ve always had less than two per cent of the entire roll [appeal] so it tends to suggest to me that there’s broad acceptance of the numbers,” McDonald said.
McDonald said B.C. Assessment can’t predict whether stability will remain next year and that “talking about averages . . . becomes pretty meaningless.”