Homes' Assessed Values Climb in Capital

Greater Victoria single-family homeowners can expect their upcoming assessed values to increase by an average of five to 10 per cent.

For certain high-demand areas of Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay, it could be higher — as much as 10 to 12 per cent or more, said Reuben Danakody, B.C. Asseessment’s assessor for Vancouver Island. “There are a lot of desirable neighbourhoods within those areas.”

Average assessments for strata-titled homes, typically condominiums and townhouses, in Greater Victoria are predicted to increase by three to five per cent, Danakody said.

Those smaller increases are due to a softer condo market in recent years, which is now recovering, he said.

At the start of every year, B.C. Assessment sends notices to nearly two million property owners in the province. Assessments reflect the Crown corporation’s determination of the value of a property as of July 1 of the previous year.

When property owners receive their new notices in January, that will reflect the July 2015 assessed value.

Advance notices will go out in early December for property owners who will see an assessment change that is significantly different from the average.

Projected increases are being released now to give property owners some idea of what to expect when assessed values are finalized.

Vancouver Island has 237,000 single family houses, and about 53,000 strata-titled homes.

In Greater Victoria, there are 94,000 single-family houses and 32,000 strata homes.

This year’s strong sales numbers are a key factor in higher assessments in the capital region. B.C. Assessment uses nearby sales to help determine a property’s value. Other factors, such as age, condition and improvements are also taken into account.

“It’s probably the highest volume of sales that we’ve seen since 2008,” Danakody said.

That year kicked off the global financial crisis that put the brakes on the local housing market.

Bidding wars and reports of houses selling for above their listed price reflect the current housing market, he said.

In September, for example, sales of properties on the Victoria Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service were up by 24.6 per cent compared with September 2014.

The benchmark value for a single-family home in the Victoria core climbed by 8.7 per cent year over year to $607,100, the board said.

Assessed values for commercial properties in Greater Victoria, including hotels, shops and offices, is predicted to rise by an average of five to 15 per cent, Danakody said.

Some properties in the accommodation sector may see bigger hikes of 10 to 25 per cent, he said. Increases are due to factors such as an improved economy and a strong year in tourism.

Data are still being collected and analyzed by B.C. Assessment. Average changes in assessments for individual municipalities in the capital region and for most up-Island communities are not available yet.