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What’s a property worth? Property assessment notices are here

Property owners throughout BC received their 2012 assessment notice the first week of January from BC Assessment (BCA).

 

This notice is BC Assessment’s estimate of a property’s value as of July 1, 2012, and for new construction or substantially renovated homes, the physical condition as of October 31, 2012.

 

BCA is the government agency responsible for determining and reporting property value estimates for the 1,935,426 properties in its database, a 0.92% increase in the number of properties since 2012.

 

 

BC Assessment and a REALTOR® assessment. Why the difference?


BCA’s assessment and the market value determined by a REALTOR® may be different. Why?

 

Both BCA assessors and REALTORS® calculate market value by analyzing sales of comparable homes within a local market, and look at factors that affect value such as size of home, view, location – on a busy or quiet street, number of bedrooms, construction quality, floor level, and garage or parking stalls.

 

Where every lot and every home on a street are typically the same, both BCA’s value and a REALTOR’s® value will be similar during stable market conditions.

 

Differences occur in neighbourhoods where lots have been rezoned or are different shapes and sizes, where architecture and views are unique, and where owners have made changes that BCA hasn’t yet taken into account.

 

Differences also occur during market instability when prices rise or fall during the six-month period between July 1 and January 1 of the following year.

 

Property values stable


Since July 1, 2012 home owners may have seen prices stalling in some neighbourhoods and rising in others. BCA reports that the majority of residential homeowners will experience an assessment change of less than 5% compared to last year’s assessment roll.

 

The deadline to appeal an assessment is January 31, 2013


Property owners who disagree with their assessment should do their homework by visiting www.bcassessment.ca and then e-valueBC to compare their assessment with those of their neighbours. Each year, typically less than 2% of all BC property owners appeal their assessment.

 

Property owners should first contact their local assessment office and talk to staff who can make adjustments if there is an obvious error, for example if BCA included a complete renovation, when it was merely a spruce-up.

 

Area assessors’ phone numbers


 

Property owners who decide to appeal must complete a Notice of Complaint (Appeal) form and file it by January 31, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. For information, visit www.bcassessment.ca and select Property Assessment Review Process. Then select Property Assessment Complaint Process – Step-By-Step Guide.

 

What can a successful appeal mean for a property owner?


If a property assessment decreases, property taxes may potentially also decrease.

 

BCA determines the assessed value of a property for tax purposes. The taxing authorities – both local and provincial governments – set tax rates each spring according budget requirements. The tax rate is used to determine the amount of property tax that must be paid, based on the assessed value of a property.

 

The tax rate applies to each $1,000 of net taxable value. The formula for calculating taxes on property is:

 

Tax Rate x Assessed Value / 1,000


If the tax rate for residential property is 4.01, taxes of $4.01 are charged on every $1,000 of assessed value. Residential property valued at $1,000,000 will have property taxes of $4,010 ($4.01 x $1,000,000/1,000).

 

A caution for REALTORS® using
BC Assessment data

REALTORS® using BCA data to help determine the value of a property should ensure they check the BCA database for the most current assessed value. If a property assessment is under appeal, the assessed value can change. A recent BC Supreme Court decision found that:

“Licensees using MLXchange should be aware that there may be a delay in MLXchange receiving, and publishing updated assessment information from BC Assessment. Accordingly, where a buyer wishes to have the assessed value confirmed, licensees seeking to minimize their risk should verify assessment information from MLXchange with BC Assessment, or directly with the seller to establish whether an appeal has been taken and the result of that appeal.1

1 Clee, Jennifer A., “Verifying Assessment Data,” Legally Speaking, Number 455, July 2012

 

No assessment notice


Property owners who haven’t received an assessment notice by mid-January should contact the area phone numbers listed above or visit www.bcassessment.ca and select Questions about your assessment? (Far right-hand side) or by phoning 1.866.825.8322.

 

If a property owner has concerns about their local taxes, they should contact their local government office. Taxes aren’t appealable.

 

New features


New features on the BCA website at www.bcassessment.ca include:

  • Assessment roll total value by area and property class.
  • Provincial median sale price to November 2012 for single family residential and for strata residential.
  • Photos (thumbnail size) for some properties from communities where BCA has been working on its Property Photo Update initiative.
  • Top 200 Valued Residential Properties in all of BC.
  • Top 100 Valued Residential Properties in Vancouver Sea to Sky assessment region (Includes Vancouver, North Vancouver City & District, West Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, Bowen Island, Sunshine Coast).
  • Top 100 Valued Residential Properties in North Fraser assessment region (Includes Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore, Belcarra).
  • Top 100 Valued Residential Properties in the Fraser Valley assessment region (Includes Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows).
  • Top 100 Valued Residential Properties in the Richmond/Delta assessment regiona (Includes Ladner and Tsawwassen).

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