The value of most capital region homes has dropped by between two and six per cent this year in the midst of a changing real estate market.
“The majority of homeowners will observe a modest assessment change compared to last year’s assessment roll,” said Reuben Danakody of B.C. Assessment. “A significant number of properties in the region are actually decreasing in value.”
The Crown agency is sending notices this week to nearly two million property owners in B.C., including more than 144,000 in Greater Victoria and the southern Gulf Islands. Detailed information on values is available at www.bcassessment.bc.ca where the free e-valueBC service provides comparisons of properties.
The majority of capital region homeowners will see values slide by two to six per cent, Danakody said. The figure reflects B.C. Assessment’s valuation of a home as of July 1, 2012, compared with the previous valuation as of July 1, 2011.
He said since July the overall property market “shows signs of further decline in sales while prices have generally been stable.”
However, the total value of all properties, combined into the capital region’s 2013 assessment roll, slid to $90.5 billion, down by 2.58 per cent from $92.9 billion last year. Residential properties represent the largest chunk of value, coming in at $72.2 billion for the capital region.
Within the latest roll value, $890 million in growth resulted from new construction, subdivisions and rezonings.
According to B.C. Assessment’s examples of standard single-family homes, the largest decrease in the region was in Sooke at 7.4 per cent, followed by 6.95 per cent in rural areas of Victoria, such as East Sooke, Port Renfrew and Otter Point. The city of Victoria showed the least amount of change, dropping by just 0.9 per cent, while Esquimalt only slipped by 1.5 per cent. The data represents a standard house and is not an average of home values in a particular area, the agency said.
According to Sooke-based real estate agent Tim Ayres of Royal LePage Coast Capital, the drop in Sooke’s assessment average is no surprise given sales have dropped from 402 unit sales in 2009 to 261 in 2012. “Properties have tended to stay on the market longer and with less demand. Sellers have had to accept less than they’d hoped for in many cases,” Ayres said.
Ayres also noted the assessment is bringing some reality to the Sooke market after years of inflated prices.
“But one must be careful not to equate B.C. Assessment values with the actual value of your home ... there can be a huge difference in many cases,” Ayres said. He noted B.C. Assessment doesn't visit each property and relies heavily on automated and statistical calculations based on sales data as of the valuation date of July 1 of the previous year.
“They have little data about the interior finishings or any renovations or updates that didn’t require a permit to be pulled at the municipal office.”
Victoria Real Estate Board president Shelley Mann said similar drops in the average assessment — decreases of 6.69 per cent in Highlands and 6.36 per cent in Langford — is also all about correction after years of inflated pricing.
“They were priced too aggressively for what they were and now the market has caught up to them and they had to come down in both assessments and market value,” she said.
But while some municipalities saw drops, James Island kept its status as the most valuable single-family property among the capital region and southern Gulf Islands. This year’s value for the island off the east side of the Saanich Peninsula is $49.154 million. That represents an increase from last year’s assessment of $46.403 million. It is currently on the market for $75 million. Second on the list is the Uplands waterfront home at 3195 Humber Rd., coming in at $12.113 million, slightly lower than last year’s assessment of $12.326 million.
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