Property values decline across Saanich

The average Saanich residential property went down about three per cent in value

Most people across Greater Victoria and Saanich have seen a decrease in the assessed value of their home, but that doesn’t automatically translate into lower property taxes.

The average Saanich residential property went down about three per cent in value, as assessed by B.C. Assessment in its annual publication of the value of every property in the province.

Saanich finance director Valla Tinney said property assessment and tax rates are correlated, but year-to-year changes don’t directly drive tax rates up or down.

Like every municipality, Saanich calculates its budgets to offer services like police, fire and public works, and then determines its property tax rate – after input from council politicians and the public – based on the assessed value of properties in the municipality.

Saanich has about $25 billion worth of properties to tax, about $600 million less than last year. It had modest increases to its residential base with 72 new units on the assessment roll, and it lost eight properties designated as farmland.

Mayor Frank Leonard said an individual’s property tax will only change noticeably if their change in property value veered significantly from the average. If the assessment went down by 10 per cent, he said, the owner will pay less than the average tax increase.

“The assessment determines your share of the pie, it doesn’t make the pie bigger or smaller,” Leonard said. “If assessments go up or down the same, you have the same share of the pie.”

Saanich department budgets will go to council in February and tax rates are set in April or May.

“Last year was a 3.25 per cent tax increase. We definitely don’t want to go higher than that,” Leonard said.

Did you know?

-Average house value in Saanich (SD 61 area) for 2013: $497,000 ($515,000 in 2012)

-Average house value in Saanich (SD 63 area) for 2013: $683,000 ($705,000 in 2012)

-Saanich total residential units in 2013: 38,453 (38,362 in 2012)

-Saanich total farm properties in 2013: 398 (406 in 2012)