With some exceptions, West Shore homeowners are on the lower end of the scale when it comes to average increases in the assessed value of their properties.
Residents here and around the province began receiving their notices this week. While some homeowners dread finding that manila envelope in the mail, Tina Ireland, a Greater Victoria assessor with the B.C. Assessment Authority, offered a reminder that an increase in assessed value doesn’t necessarily mean an equivalent increase in property tax. Those figures are determined by municipalities and take other factors into consideration as well.
“The assessment reflects what’s happening in the real estate market,” she said. With that in mind, Ireland noted, the increases seen this year in Greater Victoria are higher than normal for the area.
The 2017 assessment notices, which reflect market values as of July 1, 2016, showed increases in residential properties across the Island, with Greater Victoria showing some of the largest increases – up to 40 per cent in some areas. Ireland noted the norm is between 10 and 25 per cent, with the West Shore coming in at the low end of that range with an overall increase of about 10 per cent.
Properties in View Royal and Colwood brought the average up. The former saw the assessed value of a “typical” single family residential property jump almost $95,000 – about 18.6 per cent – to $604,000, while in Colwood the typical home assessment rose almost $65,000 (nearly 15 per cent) to $500,000. Other West Shore municipalities saw their typical home’s assessment rise by less than 10 per cent, including Metchosin (roughly $48,000 to $574,000), Highlands (about $46,000 to $564,000) and Langford (almost $36,000 to $456,000).
In Greater Victoria, single family homes in the District of Oak Bay continue to be at the top end for assessed value, averaging more than $1 million.
Rising values can sometimes mean higher property taxes and fewer properties qualifying for the provincial homeowner’s grant. Homes valued at more than $1.2 million are ineligible, and Metro Vancouver politicians have repeatedly called on the province to create a regional system for grant eligibility to reflect higher values in their region.
But less than two per cent of property owners in the province appeal their assessment. Residents have until Jan. 31 to appeal 2017 assessments to the Property Assessment Review Panel, an independent body. The panel hears complaints between Feb. 1 and March 15 of each year.
Ireland noted that if property owners have any questions about their assessments or believe an error has been made, they should first call B.C. Assessment at 1-866-825-8322 to speak with an assessor, who most often can clear up any concerns.
Homeowners can learn more about their assessment, property information and trends by going to bcassessment.ca. “There’s a lot of really great information there,” Ireland said. The site also allows you to search, check and compare 2017 property assessments anywhere in the province.
West Shore homes make Island top 100 list of most expensive properties
Of the Island’s top 100 highest valued residential properties, two from the West Shore made the list.
Coming in at number 61 is a View Royal waterfront property located at 157 View Royal Ave. that has a total taxable value of roughly $5.33 million. It’s followed by a Bear Mountain home at 2300 Compass Pointe Pl. valued at roughly $5.26 million that comes in at number 64 on the list.
The most expensive property in the Island district is actually James Island, off the Saanich Peninsula, with an assessed value of approximately $53.28 million.
– With files from Tom Fletcher