As assessment notices start arriving in mailboxes across British Columbia, property owners in most Lower Mainland municipalities will notice their assessments have increased in 2021.
BC Assessment is now sending out 2021 assessment notices to owners of more than 1,056,000 properties throughout the Lower Mainland. These notices reflect market value as of July 1, 2020.
"Despite COVID-19, the Lower Mainland residential real estate market has been resilient," BC Assessment deputy assessor Bryan Murao said in a news release. "For the most part, homeowners can expect relatively moderate increases in value. This incredible strength is a stark contrast to last spring, when the market came to a temporary standstill, whereas the remainder of the year had a very steady and rapid recovery."
According to BC Assessment, a typical single-family home in New Westminster that was assessed at $1,054,000 in 2020 (as of July 1, 2019) has an assessed value of $ 1,119,000 in 2021, which is a 6% increase. That’s on par with the 6% increases in communities including Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Delta, Sechelt, Chilliwack and Maple Ridge.
Some Lower Mainland communities had lower assessment increases, including Pitt Meadows at 3%, White Rock and the City of Langley at 4%, and Surrey and West Vancouver at 5%. Others had higher assessment increases than New West, including Vancouver at 10%, Port Coquitlam and Mission at 8%, and North Vancouver district and city, Langley Township and Abbotsford at 7%.
"It is important to understand that changes in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding change in property taxes," Murao said. "As noted on your assessment notice, how your assessment changes relative to the average change in your community is what may affect your property taxes."
Last year, assessments for residential properties in New West and other Lower Mainland cities saw a decline in their market value as of July 1, 2019. At that time, some assessments for residential single-detached homes in Metro Vancouver saw decreases in value as high as 16%, while typical single-family properties in New West saw a drop of 8%.
On the condo front, BC Assessment is reporting that a strata home in New Westminster with a typical assessed value of $500,000 in 2020 (as of July 1, 2019) would have an assessed value of $511,000 in 2021, which is an increase of 2%.
Murao said the commercial and industrial markets, however, have been much more varied, with both decreases and increases depending upon the specific sector.
BC Assessment's website at bcassessment.ca includes more details about 2021 assessments, property information and trends, such as lists of 2021's top valued residential properties across the province.
"Property owners can find a lot of valuable information on our website including answers to many assessment-related questions,” Murao said, “but those who feel that their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2020 or see incorrect information on their notice should contact BC Assessment as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January."
If a property owner is still concerned about their assessment after speaking to a BC Assessments appraiser, they can submit a notice of complaint (appeal) by Feb. 1, for an independent review by a property assessment review panel. Review panels, which are independent of BC Assessment, are appointed annually by the provincial government and meet to hear formal complaints.