COQUITLAM — In the coming weeks, homeowners across the Tri-Cities will be getting a letter in the mail, which often turns out to be a sobering reminder of the value of the biggest investment of their lives.
The 2013 property assessments are out, and according to BC Assessment, most Tri-Cities homeowners will see an increase of zero to 10 per cent.
However, Edward Shum, BC Assessment deputy assessor for the North Fraser region, cautioned there are areas and pockets that have declined in value since assessments were done in July. He is expecting some people to be surprised by their assessments.
“I want to ensure the public doesn’t get startled when they see the assessment is potentially higher than what they believe they can currently get in the marketplace,” he told The NOW. “They need to really understand that it’s a six- to seven-month lag since the assessment notice came out.”
The housing market has taken a tumble since the summer, with home sales in the Vancouver area dropping to 10-year lows. The swing in assessed value depends on where you own your home, with some neighbourhoods proving hotter than others.
There are 76,000 properties on the assessment rolls in the Tri-Cities. Shum pointed out neighbourhoods like Maillardville, Burquitlam and Burke Mountain had assessment increases in the 10- to 20-per-cent range.
And Coquitlam proved to have the biggest increases among the Tri-Cities for 2013.
The average or “benchmark” home in Maillardville built in the 1950s had an assessed value of $677,000 for 2013, compared to $652,000 in 2012. In Central Coquitlam, the average home built in the 1980s had a 2013 assessed value of $800,000, compared to $740,000 the previous year. On Burke Mountain, the average home built in 2009 jumped in assessed value to $840,000 from $800,000 in 2012. In the case of Maillardville, Shum noted the greater increase is due to new zoning, and in Burquitlam, the Evergreen Line is playing a role in increasing values.
In Port Moody’s Heritage Woods neighbourhood, the average home built in the late 1990s increased slightly in value to $1.1 million, compared to $1.07 million in 2012. In College Park, the typical home built in the 1960s increased in value to $634,000 in 2013 from $600,000 the previous year.
PoCo saw the smallest increase in property values. The average home in the Citadel Heights area built in the 1990s basically remained flat at $678,000, compared to $677,000 in 2012. The value of a typical home in Mary Hill also remained similar, with assessments nudging up slightly to $478,000, compared to $470,000 in 2012.
Though homeowners should be getting their paper assessments in the first couple of weeks of January, they can also go to BC Assessment’s website after Jan. 2 to check out their assessment and look for sale comparables to see if their assessment is fair.
There is also recourse for residents who are unhappy with their property assessment.
They can challenge it by speaking to appraisal staff or filing a formal appeal by the end of January for an independent review by an assessment panel. The panels will be held between mid-February and mid-March.
Shum noted generally less than two per cent of all assessments are appealed to a panel.