More than 5,300 property owners in the Columbia Valley saw little change to their property values as 2012 assessment notices hit mailboxes over the past week.
Assessment rolls declined for most valley communities this year, with Radium Hot Springs seeing the most marked decline of the three incorporated communities, with overall residential values falling by 6.95 per cent and businesses/other values down by 8.62 per cent.
In Invermere, the decline was 5.48 for residential properties and 1.71 per cent for businesses. In Canal Flats, residential values fell by 4.78 per cent, while business values crept up by 2.34 per cent.
“Across all three of those communities the assessment rolls are down in the five to seven per cent range across all property classes,” says Bradley Lane, an assessor for the Kootenay region.
“In the grand scheme of things, I wouldn’t say it’s an extreme decrease at all. When things are in that plus or minus five per cent range we generally refer to them as being pretty stable.”
Property values are calculated by BC Assessment based on market value as of July 1 of 2011 and a property’s physical condition as of October 31.
Assessment roll numbers are looked at by municipal governments as part of the annual budgeting process, which eventually determines what residents pay in property taxes.
“In most instances, if your assessment changes are similar to that of the change for your overall class, you can generally expect not to see a lot of change in your taxes,” says Lane.
“Where it’s more significant for an individual homeowner or property owner is when their assessment change is considerably different than the overall class. We’ve been making sure those people are well aware of those changes ahead of time.”
While Radium, Canal Flats and Invermere all saw general decreases in property values, not all property owners will see a reduction in the value of their homes.
In Radium, the assessed value of a single family home increased slightly, going up by $1,000 to $333,000. (In Invermere, the value of the same type of home fell from $366,000 to $349,000. In Canal Flats, it went from $218,000 to $203,000.)
Communities in Area F also, for the most part, saw a small jump in property values.
A single family home in Panorama is now assessed at $674,000, up from $653,000. In Windermere, the assessment rose to $656,000 from $635,000.
The Windermere Lakefront — already one of the highest valued areas of the valley — went from $1,505,000 to $1,533,000.
Lane says this year’s assessment changes for the valley are similar to those across the province, and in line with the general economic trend of the area over the last few years.
“When the Alberta economy was doing well and the recreation market was very energetic you saw some pretty significant run ups in value, particularly in respect to the recreation market… That’s cooled right off, and I think this year is just sort of a continuation of that,” he says.
“It is just a reflection of what’s going on in the economy in general, I think, and it’s pretty typical across the province, outside of the Lower Mainland.”
The province’s larger communities have seen much larger shifts in value.
North Fraser saw pockets of increases in the 15 to 25 per cent range, while some areas of Richmond saw value increases of up to 30 per cent.
Single-family homes in West Vancouver also increased in a range of 15 to 30 per cent.
More on this year’s assessment rolls, individual property values and information on appealing an assessment, which must be done by the end of the month, are available at bcassessment.ca.