Although some homeowners in Metro Vancouver just saw their assessed property values rise by hundreds of thousands of dollars this year, the provincial government says people shouldn’t panic.
In BC Assessment’s newly released 2017 property assessments, some single-family homeowners saw the assessed value of their home shoot up by 30 to 50 per cent.
Vancouver, Squamish, Burnaby, Tri-Cities, Richmond, Surrey and the North Shore were among the areas with the highest increases.
The agency had already braced homeowners across the region for significant increases, and sent letters to some properties that it expected would see the biggest spike.
“The real estate market in the Lower Mainland and other parts of the province has been going up for some time, but certainly the numbers we’re seeing here are pretty significant,” said Assessor Jason Grant.
According to one example, a five-bedroom renovated near Commercial Drive saw its assessed value rise from $1.09-million to $1.46-million from 2015 to 2016.
But BC Assessment says increased values don’t necessarily translate to a property tax increase.
Grant said taxes are affected by the assessment changes compared to the average change in your community.
“Cities do not collect a windfall in property taxes when assessments go up,” he said.
“They adjust their tax rates downwards to only collect the funds they require for their operating budgets.”
The new property values are calculated based on an assessment made in July 2016, a date many consider the peak of the B.C. real estate frenzy – and just before the 15 per cent tax on foreign homebuyers was announced.
Given the substantial hikes, B.C.’s Ministry of Finance said it would review which homeowners would qualify for its homeowner grant program – and whether it needs to increase the threshold.
Under current regulations, homes assessed under $1.2-million are eligible for a $570 grant to ease the owner’s tax burden, provided they live in the residence.
That threshold was actually increased by $100,000 last year because of record-high real estate prices last year. At the time, the province said the threshold covered 91 per cent of homes in the province.
The ministry said homeowners concerned about the $570 grant can also consider whether they qualify for other property tax deferment programs, which allows homeowners to use the equity in their property to defer some or all of their annual property taxes.
Homeowners will receive their notices by mail in the coming days.
*Source file: CTV News