While property assessments jumped 24 and 15 per cent in Victoria and Esquimalt, don’t expect to see an increase on your next property tax bill just yet.
Figures released by B.C. Assessment last week show property values across Victoria rose 24 per cent from $547,200 to $679,000 from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016. In Esquimalt, assessment values increased 15 per cent from $483,000 to $556,000 in the same period.
Victoria saw the second highest jump in assessment values in the Capital Regional District, behind Oak Bay, which saw assessment values jump by 31 per cent. Victoria is followed by Saanich (SD63 and SD61), where assessment values increased 21 per cent and 19 per cent respectively, and View Royal at 18 per cent.
“The preliminary market analysis for 2017 assessments indicates significant increases over the 2016 property assessment year,” said acting assessor Christopher Whyte in a release.
“Increases of 10 to 40 per cent will be typical for single-family homes in Victoria, Saanich, Sidney and Oak Bay. Typical strata residential increases will be in the five to 25 per cent range.”
Regional assessor Tina Ireland said last year’s robust real estate market resulted in assessment increases for many properties on Vancouver Island.
The Island’s total assessments increased from $170.15 billion in 2016 to $193.21 billion this year.
But homeowners don’t need to panic over rising property taxes just yet. Earlier this week, Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced an increase in the threshold to take part in the province’s homeowner grant program to include properties with an assessed value of up to $1.6 million.
The increase is a jump from last year’s $1.2 million threshold, and means homes valued up to $1.6 million will get the full grant and won’t be subject to any clawbacks.
Homes under the threshold will continue to get the $570 annual credit against their property taxes if under the age of 65, or $845 for seniors.
The increase was meant to help homeowners whose homes were previously worth $1.1 million and have jumped to $1.4 or $1.5 million, who would have lost the homeowner grant without the change. Some homes in Vancouver saw an assessment increase of up to 50 per cent.
“In and around Vancouver, it’s family homes,” University of British Columbia associate economics professor Tom Davidoff said.
“But outside of Metro Vancouver, and to a lesser extent Victoria, that’s pretty heavy stuff. So you’re giving money to people who are doing very nicely.”
Raising the threshold means the province will pay out $821 million in homeowner grants, an increase of $12 million. The expenditure would have decreased if the government had left it unchanged.
According to B.C. Assessment, assessments are the estimate of a property’s market value as of July 1, 2015 and physical condition as of Oct. 21, 2016.
Property owners concerned about their assessment can contact a B.C. Assessment appraiser, or can submit a notice of complaint by Jan. 31 to be reviewed by a Property Assessment Review Panel. For more information visit bcassessment.ca.
— With files from Wolf Depner and Jeff Nagel