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Sticker shock: Many clients may appreciate a follow-up regarding their 2021 property assessment

As experts in real estate, you knew this week was coming.  Every year, BC Assessment mails property owners their new property assessment values during the first week of January.

In fact, you may have already logged into the BC Assessment site – in advance of the mailed hardcopy notices – to look up your own home’s assessed value for 2021.

For many property owners in the Fraser Valley, 2021 assessments have gone through the roof; noticeably higher than in the City of Vancouver. In our region, values of single family detached homes increased anywhere from 27 to 39 per cent (from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021); values of strata properties – condos and townhomes – are up anywhere from 13 to 24 per cent year over year, depending on the community. The highest increase for a single family detached home in the Fraser Valley was in the City of Langley at 39 per cent; followed by Abbotsford at 38 per cent   

According to BC Assessment Deputy Assessor Bryan Murao, “British Columbia’s real estate market remains highly active and that means most property owners can expect higher assessment values for 2022.

“The widely reported heighted demand among homebuyers during the COVID-19 pandemic is reflected in the upward movement of property values across the province including 10 to 30 percent increases throughout the Lower Mainland. City of Vancouver condos, however, are on the lower end of the changes, generally with single digit increases, whereas homes in the Fraser Valley suburbs are changing higher compared to most of Metro Vancouver.”

A good opportunity to connect with clients

Some people may be happy to see the value of their home go up significantly, particularly during a global pandemic, and may wonder if it’s a good time to sell? Others may worry at the potential effect on their property taxes at a time when they can least afford an increase. 

Either way, many clients may appreciate an email or a phone call from you to discuss their assessment and if they don’t already know, educate them on the relationship between the real estate market, property values, the BC Assessment process, and municipal taxes.

While the real estate sector is often ‘blamed’ for creating markets or ‘inflating’ home values, the reality is that markets are created by complex economic and social conditions that affect supply and demand. Our historic 2021 housing market was due to a response to the pandemic – the inflated importance of home, working from home, increased personal savings – combined with super low interest rates.

As BC Assessment’s site explains, if your property increases 30 per cent in value, it doesn’t mean your taxes will increase by 30 per cent.  As real estate experts know, property tax bills have more to do with each individual municipality’s budget rather than how much a home’s value has gone up or down, but your client may not be aware of that.

For example, the City of Surrey announced just before the holidays a 2022 property tax increase of 2.9 per cent for residents and businesses. “With the ongoing uncertainty around COVID, Surrey City Council has taken the position to maintain the property tax rate increase to 2.9 percent,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Surrey’s property tax rate has remained constant for the fourth year in a row, and we believe it is important for our residents to not be presented with an unexpected tax burden.”   

Useful links to BC Assessment resources:

  • Search for specific property assessment information.
  • Media release for the Lower Mainland region, which lists the percentage increases by property type for each community.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (includes several videos you can share on social media) about assessments and complaints (appeals).

To reach BC Assessment:

Due to concerns related to COVID-19, BC Assessment is not offering in-person customer service at this time. Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, you can phone or submit an online inquiry.

  • Phone: 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322)
  • Online contact form: click here
  • Notice of Complaint (Appeal) form: click here

The deadline to file an appeal is January 31, 2022.

Source: FVREB Communications