Property owners throughout BC received their 2012 assessment notice the first week of January from BC Assessment (BCA). This notice is BC Assessment's estimate of a property's value as of July 1, 2012, and for new construction or substantially renovated homes, the physical condition as of October 31, 2012. We know the market has taken a downward turn since this date. So keep this in mind when you receive your assessment. Here are some of the changes in the values reported by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

BC Assessment vs. Market Value

BCA's assessment and the market value determined by a REALTOR® may be different. Why? Both BCA assessors and REALTORS® calculate market value by analyzing sales of comparable homes within a local market, and look at factors that affect value such as size of home, view, location - on a busy or quiet street, number of bedrooms, construction quality, floor level, and garage or parking stalls.

Where every lot and every home on a street are typically the same, both BCA's value and a REALTOR's® value will be similar during stable market conditions. Differences occur in neighbourhoods where lots have been rezoned or are different shapes and sizes, where architecture and views are unique, and where owners have made changes that BCA hasn't yet taken into account.

Differences also occur during market instability when prices rise or fall during the six-month period between July 1 and January 1 of the following year. (as we see right now)

The deadline to appeal an assessment is January 31, 2013

Property owners who disagree with their assessment should do their homework by visiting www.bcassessment.ca and then e-valueBC to compare their assessment with those of their neighbours. Each year, typically less than 2% of all BC property owners appeal their assessment. Property owners should first contact their local assessment office and talk to staff who can make adjustments if there is an obvious error, for example if BCA included a complete renovation, when it was merely a spruce-up.

Area assessors' phone numbers

Property owners who decide to appeal must complete a Notice of Complaint (Appeal) form and file it by January 31, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. For information, visit www.bcassessment.ca and select Property Assessment Review Process. Then select Property Assessment Complaint Process - Step-By-Step Guide.

Two potential results from appealing your assessment If a property assessment decreases, property taxes may potentially also decrease. BCA determines the assessed value of a property for tax purposes. The taxing authorities - both local and provincial governments - set tax rates each spring according budget requirements.

The tax rate is used to determine the amount of property tax that must be paid, based on the assessed value of a property. The tax rate applies to each $1,000 of net taxable value. The formula for calculating taxes on property is:

Tax Rate x Assessed Value / 1,000 If the tax rate for residential property is 4.01, taxes of $4.01 are charged on every $1,000 of assessed value. Residential property valued at $1,000,000 will have property taxes of $4,010 ($4.01 x $1,000,000/1,000).

Be aware that potential buyers of your home will view this as your property being worth less. Yes they will even if it's so far off. Buyers feel better when the tax assessment is higher - it's just the way the mind works, so something to consider.

 

New features on the BCA website at www.bcassessment.ca include:

  • Assessment roll total value by area and property class.
  • Provincial median sale price to November 2012 for single family residential and for strata residential.
  • Photos (thumbnail size) for some properties from communities where BCA has been working on its Property Photo Update initiative.
  • Top 200 Valued Residential Properties in all of BC.
  • Top 100 Valued Residential Properties in Vancouver Sea to Sky assessment region (Includes Vancouver, North Vancouver City & District, West Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, Bowen Island, Sunshine Coast).
  • Top 100 Valued Residential Properties in North Fraser assessment region (Includes Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore, Belcarra).
  • Top 100 Valued Residential Properties in the Fraser Valley assessment region (Includes Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows).
  • Top 100 Valued Residential Properties in the Richmond/Delta assessment regiona (Includes Ladner and Tsawwassen).

Visit www.bcassessment.ca and select e-valueBC to view and compare the assessed value of any BC property.