Trail property owners will be getting off lighter than many of their Kootenay and provincial neighbours once the 2017 tax assessments arrive in the mail.
While some property assessments show an increase a high as 50 per cent in some urban areas of B.C., Trail will see a general rate increase of around two per cent said a deputy assessor for the Kootenay Columbia region.
“It’s a very modest increase,” said Ramaish Shah, deputy assessor for the Kootenay Columbia region.
The Kootenay region won’t be seeing any increases as drastic as those in some urban areas, Shah added.
“In general it’ll be about five-to-10-per cent in the Kootenays,” he said.
Shah said rates are based on reviews of home sales around the region.
According to a press release for the Kootenay Columbia 2017 property assessment roll, a Trail home valued at $155,000 in 2016 is now valued at $159,000.
Other parts of Greater Trail actually saw a general reduction.
In Warfield a property valued at $193,000 in 2016 dropped to $191,000. In Fruitvale, a home valued at $216,000 dropped to $215,000. In Montrose, property valued at $233,000 went down to $231,000.
Others parts of the local region saw modest increases as predicted by Shah.
In Rossland, a home valued at $255,000 is up to $257,000. In Salmo, a residence valued at $170,000 went up to $172,000.
Some regional areas will see higher increases than Greater Trail said Shah, notably Nelson, up 10 per cent, and Revelstoke, up eight per cent.
The biggest West Kootenay drop in assessment was in Silverton where property assessed at $232,000 in 2016 is now assessed at $216,000. At the other end of the scale, Nelson saw a home valued at $333,000 rise up to $363,000.
Last year, there was a variety of assessments doled out in the Trail area with some seeing drastic increases while others dropped.
That prompted Trail council to summon Shah to its meeting and explain the changes.
Shah told council that the B.C. Assessment Authority (BCA) did change certain methodology in 2016, which led to fluctuations in home values, not land values.
“We look at various factors on home characteristics from year to year, and revise our data based on what information comes out,” he explained to council in April, 2016. “It’s difficult from an assessment perspective, we don’t actually get to see the inside of homes.”
BCA evaluated home improvements across the province this year, Shah continued.
“And we’ve made changes based on what we think older houses are worth relative to newer houses, and what they are selling for,” he said. “There were cases where some homes may have gone up and some down, but again the underlying goal is two houses of similar size, similar age and similar characteristics would be assessed similarly,” Shah added.
“That may not have been the case in the past, but optimistically, they are now -the result is what you may have seen.”
Property assessment notices are being mailed out and values posted at the B.C. Assessment website (www.bcassessment.ca) this week, based on the agency’s mid-2016 real estate market surveys.
Preliminary data showed increases of 30 to 50 per cent for houses and condos in Metro Vancouver, 10 to 40 per cent for Greater Victoria and five to 30 per cent in the Central Okanagan.
Rising values mean fewer properties qualifying for the provincial homeowner’s grant. Homes valued at more than $1.2 million are ineligible, and Metro Vancouver politicians have repeatedly called on the province to create a regional system for grant eligibility to reflect higher values in their region.
The province’s latest move is the creation of a second-mortgage fund for first-time buyers, called the B.C. Home Partnership. It starts taking applications on Jan. 16, with loans up to five per cent of the purchase price to a maximum of $37,500, interest free for five years for qualified buyers.
Housing Minister Rich Coleman said the program is designed to help renters as well as first-time buyers, as more people move out of a tight rental market into their own homes. The province estimates 42,000 households are eligible to take advantage of the interest-free loans.
With files from Black Press