Assessments reflect rapidly rising home values across CRD

Many Greater Victoria homeowners checking out the latest assessments online are seeing their property values jump considerably compared with a year ago.

Assessment notices are being mailed out this week, but if you don’t want to wait, the latest figures for individual addresses are now available on the e-valueBC website at evaluebc.bcassessment.ca.

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B.C. Assessment alerted homeowners in early December that assessment increases of between 10 and 40 per cent could be expected for single-family homes in Oak Bay, Saanich, Victoria and Sidney.

Many of the highest increases will be seen in Oak Bay, according to Christopher Whyte, acting assessor for Vancouver Island.

Strata properties will likely experience increases of between five and 25 per cent, Whyte said last month.

Factors influencing assessed values include recent sales in an area, property size, age, quality, condition, view and location. The assessment shows estimated market value of a home as of July 2016.

A year ago, assessed values rose by far less, typically two to eight per cent.

But Greater Victoria’s real estate market is hot. Prices have been rising, often amid fierce competition where available properties are in short supply.

The Victoria Real Estate Board’s benchmark price for a single-family house in the core of Victoria was $753,800 in November 2016, up 24 per cent from the same month in 2015.

If an assessment goes up in sync with others in a neighbourhood, then taxes would typically rise only by the mill rate set by a municipality. Municipalities set mill rates to cover their annual budgets. A mill rate refers to how much tax is paid per dollar of assessed property value.

Mike Nugent, past-president of the Victoria Real Estate Board, said Monday that buyers like to look at assessments but those figure does not always reflect current market value.

In some cases, homeowners do significant renovations without taking out building permits. New kitchens, bathrooms, and windows can add to the value of a home. “That house could actually be worth more than their assessment, or it can go the other way,” he said.

For example, a house without any improvements could still see its assessment increase because of local sales. But that property might not sell for that amount if it goes on the market, Nugent said.

Assessments tend to be six months behind, he said. “In a flat market, they tend to get more and more accurate but in an up or down market, they are behind the times.”

Looking into 2017, Nugent said strong buyer demand remains in the capital region. “We are still seeing a lot of places selling for over list [price], not wildly over list like they were.”

Generally, properties selling above asking price go for between $5,000 to $20,000 over the list, Nugent said.

About 25 per cent of listings have been selling over asking price, which “means there is lots of buyer demand. We’ve got a shortage of inventory carrying on.”

The Victoria board predicts that the number of sales will drop because of lack of inventory but that values will remain strong, or move up, because of the demand, he said.

 

> More information on the latest assessments will be published in Wednesday’s Times Colonist, and online today at timescolonist.com.

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