Assessments fall, real estate market sees 'modest gains'

John Gleeson/Staff Writer / Staff writer
January 11, 2013 01:00 AM

Total assessed property value on the Sunshine Coast fell by 2.2 per cent from last year, the second biggest drop in the Vancouver Sea to Sky region after Whistler, BC Assessment said last week.

Total assessed property value on the Sunshine Coast fell by 2.2 per cent from last year, the second biggest drop in the Vancouver Sea to Sky region after Whistler, BC Assessment said last week.

"For the first time in many years, a significant number of properties in the region are actually decreasing in value," assessor Jason Grant said in a Jan. 2 news release. "The most significant decreases occurred in Whistler, Pemberton and on the Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island."

At the same time, year-end stats from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver show a 2.1 per cent increase in detached home sales on the Coast last year, with 438 sales compared to 429 in 2011. The median price was $405,000, up about one per cent from 2011.

"Buyers are definitely throwing their weight around," said Garry Little, a realtor with Royal LePage Sunshine Coast, who compiled a summary of the local data. "Despite that, prices have sort of held up in this area compared to Vancouver. Not by much -it's a modest gain - but there's some optimism there."

The drop in overall assessment "just reflects the flat nature of the market," Little added.

"Assessments are kind of an average of that kind of house in average condition," he said, noting that a house in Halfmoon Bay recently sold for 10 per cent more than its assessed value.

BC Assessment's chart of sample tax jurisdictions in the Sea to Sky region shows modest increases in value for the cities of Vancouver and North Vancouver and the districts of North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Squamish.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler lost almost $500 million, or five per cent, in total assessment in 2013, while the Village of Pemberton and Bowen Island Municipality each saw a decrease of less than one per cent.

The Sunshine Coast assessment roll fell by about $206 million - or 2.2 per cent -from $9.26 billion to $9.06 billion. Of this year's total, the combined value of subdivisions, rezoning and new construction (non-market change) was $93.4 million.

A breakdown provided on the BC Assessment website (www.bcassessment.ca) regional map shows residential assessment went down an average of 2.33 per cent in Gibsons compared to less than one per cent in Sechelt, while commercial property values rose 2.01 per cent in Gibsons and 2.35 per cent in Sechelt.

Individual assessment examples show the value of a single-family dwelling in Gibsons fell from $431,000 to $391,000 for a non-waterfront property and from $749,000 to $717,000 for waterfront. In Sechelt, the value of a single-family dwelling rose from $318,000 to $328,000 for non-waterfront and fell from $668,300 to $657,300 for waterfront.

Overall the Vancouver Sea to Sky assessment roll increased from $356.9 billion last year to $367.8 billion this year.

Property owners who believe their assessments do not reflect market value as of July 1, 2012, or who see incorrect information on their assessment notices, are asked to contact BC Assessment toll-free at 1-866-825-8322.

If not satisfied by the response, property owners have until Jan. 31 to appeal to an independent property assessment review panel. Formal complaints will be heard between Feb. 1 and March 15.


© Coast Reporter

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