Built on 1.58 acres in 1935

Little change in annual property assessments

Greater Trail's highest assessed home is the historic two-storey “big house” at 410 Ritchie Avenue in Tadanac at $978,000.

Ever wonder what the highest assessed property is between Trail and Rossland?

A good guess would be one of the expansive new builds hidden behind a private road and nestled in the mountains.

But that’s not it. The highest assessed home is the historic two-storey “big house” at 410 Ritchie Avenue in Tadanac, according to this year’s BC Assessment roll.

The property, which was developed in 1935, is owned and maintained by Teck Ltd., and sitting pretty at $978,000 ($353,000 for the land and the house, $625,000).

The home, which continues to be used as a guest house for the company’s visitors, is a cut above the second priciest, which is a $881,000 residence in Rossland’s Iron Colt subdivision.

As homeowners open mailboxes this week to find their own 2015 assessment notices, they may wonder how their domain stands up against other properties in the neighbourhood.

Now it’s easier than ever to pull up addresses online and view assessed values, find out how they stand next to others, and how much similar homes were sold for.

The new version of “e-valueBC” was launched on the website, bcassessment.ca, by the provincial crown corporation a few weeks ago.

It’s easy to access and allows the public to search, check and compare properties and assessments from across the province.

With the site’s improved navigation, an interactive map and street-front photos are available for most properties in British Columbia.

The most current BC Assessment roll comes on the heels of e-valueBC‘s new look.

For the fourth straight year, the local residential market has remained quite stable, says Dennis Hickson from the Kootenay Regional office in Nelson.

Most homes in the area’s five municipalities and the surrounding rural area have change only modestly since last year.

“Most home owners in those areas will see changes in the plus five per cent to minus five per cent range,” Hickson added.

In Trail, house prices increased slightly, with a single family dwelling averaging $172,000 compared to $171,000 in 2014.

Rossland real estate also saw a slight increase with homes averaging $240,000, over last year’s assessment of $238,000.

Within the villages of Warfield and Fruitvale, average home values also trended up at $171,000 and $190,000 compared to 2014’s assessed $170,000 and $185,000 respectively. The Montrose market was unchanged with the average house remaining $222,000.

With the release of property notices, homeowners may start to fret about impending hikes in property taxes, due before July 2 every year.

But according to Hickson, the annual assessment increases don’t necessarily lead to increased taxation.

“It used to be assumed that municipalities would take advantage of increased assessments and get these windfall profits,” he said. “But it’s been proven over time that they just don’t do that, the taxation rates are adjusted to budgetary needs.”

The City of Trail’s budget is being finalized with the assessment information now available, said David Perehudoff, chief administrative officer, adding that council is expected to begin its review within the next two weeks.

While Trail’s 2015 overall assessment roll remained static at $1.1 billion, Rossland’s decreased nominally from $578 million last year to the current $576 million.

“Ideally, the city likes to see real growth in the assessment roll,” Perehudoff said. “In this regard, as costs increase, the current property tax base is required to absorb the costs. There is no opportunity to reduce the costs by spreading it out to a larger assessment base that comes with growth.”

Market fluctuations are one contributing factor to changes in assessment for the various categories that include residential, light and major industry, utility, and commercial properties.

The most notable increase is related to the ongoing Waneta Expansion construction in the regional district’s Area A.  That roll assessment is up $19 million, with a current value of $829 million compared to $810 million in 2014 and $786 million the year previous.

Another assessment factor is non-market, which is better coined new construction, explained Hickson. “That’s what we are talking about, like the completion of the Waneta Dam. But it also includes subdivision.”

For example, if a five-acre lot is divided into 20 lots, the additional value created by that subdivision will add to the municipality’s gross assessed value from one year to the next.

New construction and newer housing stock in Fruitvale has upped the village’s roll to $202 million, which is an $8 million increase since last year.

“Of the communities noted, almost $27.6 million of the assessed value is attributable to subdivisions, rezoning and new construction,” noted Hickson.

Although the assessment authority hasn’t carried out door-to-door inspections since the late 1990s, new technology, which includes aerial views and street front photography, is employed to verify property inventory.

Additionally, when homeowners take out building permits, their residences are inspected by an appraiser, and properties that are sold are viewed to keep records current and to aid in the valuation process.

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