Homes in some B.C. suburbs jump by more than 40% in assessed value on 2022 notices
Increases highlight how Vancouver's affordability crunch is spreading to smaller municipalities, expert says
New data shows that assessed values of homes in the province are up across the board, with some smaller communities and suburbs seeing the largest increases of 40 per cent or more in the past year, according to B.C. Assessment.
Major increases are being seen in the relatively more affordable parts of the Fraser Valley. In Chilliwack, the average value of a single-family home soared by 40 per cent over last year. In Abbotsford it was 39 per cent, and Langley 38 per cent.
By comparison, Vancouver's already sky-high single-family home value went up 16 per cent, to an average of almost $2 million.
Andy Yan, director of SFU's City Program, said the numbers highlight how Vancouver's affordability problem is spreading to other municipalities.
"I think there's some serious challenges ahead of us just simply in how much of these increases in prices outstrip local incomes and how local incomes have remained relatively flat in comparison to these sizeable gains in property values," said Yan.
Homeowners might welcome the increases, but the numbers are yet another blow to those hoping to get into the market, and a major worry for those who rent.
For 40 years, Jim Close has had a home on a recreational leasehold property on the Sunshine Coast. Because the assessed value of the property has gone up almost 100 per cent, his annual rent paid to the government has also doubled.
"It's quite crazy that it's gone up that high. However, I understand the values have gone up all the way across the Sunshine Coast," he said.
"As a retired person on a fixed income, it's going to make me consider not keeping the place."
Assessors do not distinguish between leasehold and freehold properties when determining values, said Close.
Yan said a combination of supply, demand and financing measures are needed to address the growing affordability crunch.
"And that's really mixed in with emerging housing disruptors," he said. "Prior to [the pandemic] you have to remember the role of Airbnb. And there's the role of people owning multiple homes — the idea of housing as an investment instead of a home has put particular pressure on this marketplace."
B.C. Assessment is the provincial authority that determines the values of homes across the province for tax purposes and official records. 2022 assessment notices reflect the market value of a property on July 1, 2021.
According to the organization, the province's real estate market remains "highly active" and most property owners should expect higher assessments for 2022.
Bryan Murao, deputy assessor for B.C. Assessment, said heightened demand for homes over the past two years of the pandemic has resulted in increased property values, not only in traditional hot spots like Vancouver and Victoria, but in smaller centres as well.
He said the average gains are between 10 and 30 per cent across 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," said Murao in a news release.
The average single-family residential property in Chilliwack is now worth $877,000. Farther out in Hope, values increased 45 per cent from $428,000 in 2021 to $620,000 in 2022.
Surrey, Coquitlam and Delta also saw increases of more than 30 per cent.
B.C. Assessment said that for the Lower Mainland region, the overall total assessments have increased from about $1.46 trillion in 2021 to about $1.75 trillion this year.
More than $23.7 billion of the region's updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions and property rezoning, it said.
In December, the B.C. Real Estate Association said the number of homes sold in the province hit a new high in 2021. The average price of a home is now just shy of a million dollars at $993,922, up 22.1 per cent from $814,310 in November 2020.
Port Alberni up 47%, Tofino 42%
Similarly, on Vancouver Island, demand for homes in smaller cities, bedroom communities or more rural locations is driving an increase in assessments.
The value of a typical single-family home in Port Alberni increased 47 per cent from $320,000 in 2021 to $470,000 in 2022.
Assessments in Tofino increased by 42 per cent, pushing average values from $956,000 in 2021 to $1,358,000 in 2022.
Increases above 30 per cent were recorded in Sooke, the Gulf Islands, Duncan, North Cowichan, Qualicum Beach and Parksville to name a few.
Overall, Vancouver Island's total assessments increased from about $269 billion in 2021 to $343 billion this year, according to B.C. Assessment.
Homes in the Southern Interior also experienced significant increases to their assessments.
In Kelowna, the price of a typical single-family home increased from $650,000 in 2021 to $869,000 this year, an increase of 34 per cent.
One of the biggest jumps in the region was in Peachland, where assessments rose 39 per cent. In 2021 a single-family property was valued at $590,000; for 2022 it is $820,000.
Changes to property assessments do not automatically translate into an increase in property taxes, according to B.C. Assessment.
Property owners have until Jan. 31 to appeal notice of assessments.