Lower isn’t necessarily better: Help your clients understand their 2020 property assessment

Most homeowners across BC have just received their 2020 Property Assessment Notice in the mail. This presents a great opportunity for REALTORS® to follow-up with their clients to see if they have questions or concerns about what their assessment means.

Owners of single family detached homes across our Board area saw their assessed values drop anywhere from 3 to 9 per cent. And condo owners in our region saw decreases of 4 to 7 per cent.

Some may actually breathe a sigh of relief because they’ll perceive that their property taxes will go down and that they may finally, catch a break. REALTORS® know that unfortunately that’s not necessarily the case.

“It is important to understand that changes in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding change in property taxes,” explains Deputy Assessor Brian Smith. “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.”

Property tax bills have more to do with each individual municipality’s budget rather than how much your home’s value has gone up or down.

Remember, just before the holidays, the City of Vancouver approved a (controversial) property tax increase of 7 per cent for its residents. The City of Surrey’s proposed budget for 2020 reflects an average property tax increase of just under 3 per cent for single family homes.

However, BC Assessment has said that a general rule of thumb is that if your assessment went down and your neighbours’ assessments also dropped, there’s a good chance that you’ll see a reduction in your taxes.

Here are links that can help you assist your clients:

  • BC Assessment’s webpage to search for assessments online
  • BC Assessment’s media release for the Lower Mainland region
  • Interactive maps on market movement for different property classes, market trends and the top 500 valued residential properties.
  • Video showing BC Property Assessments by region

BC Assessment’s Fraser Valley offices are located in Surrey and Abbotsford:

  • Surrey: #100, 5477 152 Street
  • Abbotsford: #240, 31935 South Fraser Way

During the month of January, the hours of operation at both offices are 8:30 am to 5 pm. BC Assessment staff can be reached at 1-866-825-8322 or online at bcassessment.ca.