It’s a sure sign of the beginning of the New Year when the BC Tax Assessments for our properties arrive in the mailbox. 


For many years, when the market was robust, the values climbed each year … and in some areas, climbed dramatically.  This year, however, we’re generally seeing a decline in the tax assessment values, particularly in detached homes, while some townhouses and apartments are staying the same or rising slightly.  The situation changes from neighbourhood to neighbourhood – Surrey’s property value change is -4% according to the BC Assessment while Metro Vancouver is -11% on average.


The BC Property Tax Assessment is used by tax authorities to determine the portion of municipal and provincial property taxes homeowners will pay and is based on what is considered to be the fair market value of your property as of July 1 in the prior year.  It doesn’t take into account forces that act within the real estate market such as seller motivation, buyer motivation, and variations in the market within the six months prior to release of the tax assessment notice.  The BC Assessment Department doesn’t rely on individual appraisals of properties when making their recommendations as to value; they source information from land titles, permit applications and approvals, zoning changes, drive-bys, models of apartments buildings to ascertain views and other factors not necessarily related to your individual home.


So when pricing a home to sell (or buy), relying on the Tax Assessment isn’t the wisest thing to do.  Oftentimes in years past, the assessment was significantly lower than selling price because the market was hot.  Now that the market has softened, you’ll see selling prices lower (in some cases significantly lower) than the tax assessed value.  Any property’s value in real estate terms is what a buyer is willing to pay for it.


If you have questions about your property’s assessment, go to www.bcassessment.ca  . Or call 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322 or 604-739-8588).  If you wish to challenge the assessment and file a Notice of Complaint, the deadline for your appeal is January 31, 2020.

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