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UPDATE: Residential assessments down on Sunshine Coast

Pender Harbour sees modest increases

Sunshine Coast residential property assessments followed the general trend for the rest of the Lower Mainland area, which includes Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, the Sea to Sky corridor and the Sunshine Coast.

“The Lower Mainland residential real estate market continues to see signs of moderation,” said BC Assessment deputy assessor Brian Smith in a release announcing the completion of the 2020 assessments.

But while properties in Metro Vancouver and the North Shore were down anywhere from seven to 16 per cent, the reductions were generally smaller on the Sunshine Coast.

According to BC Assessment, the average single-family detached home in Sechelt was valued at $568,000, about six per cent lower than 2019.

BC Assessment said waterfront homes in Sechelt saw an average drop of 6.7 per cent, homes in the downtown area dropped in value by 7.5 per cent and stratas were assessed at 3.2 per cent less.

An average home in Gibsons was valued at $657,000, a reduction of three per cent from 2019. Waterfront homes saw assessments decrease by 4.2 per cent.

BC Assessment said in the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) rural areas a typical single-family home was assessed at 2.5 per cent less than 2019.

Waterfront homes in Halfmoon Bay saw their assessments go down by 9.1 per cent – the biggest decrease in the SCRD rural areas.

There were also some increases. Assessments for single-family homes in Pender Harbour were up two per cent on average, and homes in the Ruby and Sakinaw Lake areas increased by 3.2 per cent.

Business properties saw modest increases in value across most the Sunshine Coast.

In Sechelt, business assessments were up 1.9 per cent but light industrial properties dropped by 1.9 per cent.

In Gibsons, both categories had increases in value – business was up 2.3 per cent and light industry was up 3.4 per cent.

And in the rural areas of the SCRD, business assessments were up 3.1 per cent on average and light industry was up 1.6 per cent.

Assessments are dependent on market activity. The 2019 year-end stats from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) show the benchmark price for a detached home on the Sunshine Coast was $574,600, down 6.4 per cent from the previous year but still nearly 64 per cent higher than five years ago.

The REBGV numbers also show 502 detached homes were sold in 2019, a figure that does not include new construction, compared to 514 in 2018.

“Home buyer confidence was a factor throughout the year. In the first quarter, many prospective buyers were in a holding pattern, waiting to see how prices would react to the mortgage stress test, new taxes, and other policy changes,” Ashley Smith, REBGV president, said. “Confidence started to return in the summer and we saw above average sales in the final quarter of 2019.”

After the assessments were released, the provincial government announced that “due to moderating housing prices throughout the province” it was setting the 2020 homeowner grant threshold at $1.525 million, a reduction from last year’s $1.65 million.

“People living in the regions hardest hit by sky-high property-value increases are seeing a moderating trend in housing prices. For the second year in a row, we see only modest changes in the value of both single-family and strata homes in most regions, particularly in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in a Jan. 2 statement on the assessments.

“This is a positive sign that our government’s efforts to make housing more affordable for more British Columbians are having a real impact.”

You can search assessments online at Requests for corrections to basic information like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home can be made online. Formal appeals of assessments must be filed by Jan. 31.