Property owners throughout Victoria and Esquimalt should be smiling when they receive their 2016 property assessment notices this week.
In Victoria, the assessment of a typical single family residential detached home is pegged at $547,200 compared to $524,200 last year — a difference of $23,000. In Esquimalt, the assessment for 2016 is $483,000 compared to $454,100 last year — a difference of $28,900.
According to Reuben Danakody, regional assessor with B.C. Assessment, Victoria typically sees increases between 3.5 to five per cent and Esquimalt typically hovers around the three per cent mark.
“Esquimalt has been pretty flat in the last couple of years, so we’re seeing some positive movements,” said Danakody. “It’s not a massive increase, but it’s a decent increase from what we’ve seen in previous years.”
Danakody attributes the increase to general market trending. The volume of transactions have increased year over year, likely in the range of about 21 to 30 per cent. An increase in demand drives up the prices of homes.
During the last six months, realtors have described the housing market as “absolutely crazy.” In November, anything priced in the $550,000 to $600,000 range was selling within hours and some homes had five or six offers. In Fairfield, homes were selling for $40,000 to $80,000 over the asking price.
Although the high demand and low supply has made it hard for realtors to find something to sell their clients, Danakody said the increase in property assessments is good news for property owners.
“Starting around 2010 is really when we started to see realty prices just flatten out, then we saw a year or two of declining values. We started to see some recovery in the last two years and then certainly last year we saw an increase in transactions and some modest increases,” he said. “Here again, another year of modest increases, so it’s a good consistent growth.”
Assessments are the estimate of a property’s market value as of July 1, 2015. When estimating a property’s market value, appraisers analyze current sales in the area and consider other characteristics such as size, age, quality, condition, view and location. Changes in property assessments reflect movement in the local real estate market and can vary greatly from property to property.
In the Greater Victoria area, Oak Bay has the highest assessments at $785,900 — a 6.4 per cent increase from last year. The largest average increase was in North Saanich, which rose by seven per cent to $663,000, and the lowest is $362,300 in Sooke, which only saw a 2.7 per cent increase.
Residential property assessments across the Island vary from a five per cent decrease to a ten per cent increase.
B.C. Assessment has launched a new website that includes more details about 2016 assessments, property information and trends such as the most valuable residential properties across the province.
More than 98 per cent of property owners typically accept their property assessment without proceeding to a formal, independent review. Those who feel their assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2015 or see incorrect information on their notice should contact B.C. Assessment as soon as possible.
For more information visit bcassessment.ca.