There’s good news from BC Assessment early in the new year – houses are generally selling above their assessed value in the Kootenay Columbia region, which includes Trail and Greater Area.
That trend is reflective in the 2018 Property Assessment Notice that 143,000 Kootenay Columbia landowners will be receiving by mail in the next few days.
In Trail, the average home has an increased value of almost nine per cent over the 2017 assessment, or up from $176,000 to $195,000.
“It’s just a reflection of what we are seeing in terms of sales,” Deputy Assessor, Ramaish Shah, told the Trail Times. “As a whole, properties are selling for more than what we had them assessed for last year, so we’ve gone ahead and made those changes to reflect what is happening with the market right now,” he clarified.
“One of the trends that we’ve also seen, is not a lot of properties are listed, so that generally has an impact on prices as well.”
After a number of years of a flat-line market in Trail and in 2016, a sizable disparity in value between neighborhoods, Shah says the general increase is good news for everybody but particularly for West Trail homeowners.
“The one neighbourhood that is probably going up most this year is West Trail,” he said. “I have seen a fair number of sales that have come through and when I look at the real estate listing and I look at what was assessed previously, they are selling for more than what we had them assessed at.”
With assessment values increasing the greatest in West Trail, East Trail and Sunningdale, Shah says the price point of homes in the city remains within reach for first time buyers.
“You can still buy something for less than $150,000 or $200,000,” he explained. “Whereas other communities, you couldn’t do that.”
Homes are most expensive in Rossland, the average house is presently assessed at $303,000, which is about a 12 per cent increase over 2017.
However, Fruitvale saw the highest overall increase within the immediate area. Market values rose 17.2 per cent over last year with the average residence now assessed at $259,000.
So what accounts for that jump in value?
“I would say it’s just somewhere that people are looking to move to,” said Shah. “It’s again, fairly affordable but there’s not a whole lot of properties on the market at any given time, (typically) less than 30 properties are listed for sale.
“When the amount of inventory out there to purchase isn’t large, that ends up having an uplift effect on prices.”
He pointed to Revelstoke, where for a second straight year, homes have had the highest rise in value (21 per cent) within the Kootenay Columbia region.
“People want to move there but there’s not very much for sale,” Shah explained. “Last year there was a large increase and again this year. Again, it’s somewhere people want to move but there’s not a whole lot of properties to choose from, (similar to) Rossland.”
Assessments are the estimate of a property’s market value as of July 1 and physical condition as of Oct. 31. This common valuation date ensures there is an equitable property assessment base for property taxation.
Real estate sales determine a property’s value which is reported annually by BC Assessment. Local governments and other taxing authorities are responsible for property taxation and, after determining their annual budget needs, will calculate property tax rates based on the assessment role for their jurisdiction.
The highest assessed home in Trail remains the two-story ”big house” at 410 Ritchie Avenue in Tadanac. Valued at $916,000 this year, the historic home was built in 1935 as a company guest house, and is currently owned and maintained by Teck Ltd.
However, the highest valued residence in the area is listed at $968,000 and located in Rossland.
Shah encourages homeowners to visit the BC Assessment website to search for details on property values and trends, like lists of 2018’s top valued residential properties across the province. (Number 23 is a property in rural Nelson listed at $2.69 million)
The website also provides self-service access to a free, online property assessment search service that allows anyone to search, check and compare 2018 property assessments for anywhere in the province.
“Property owners can find a lot of information on our website including answers to many assessment-related questions, but those who feel that their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2017 or see incorrect information on their notice, should contact BC Assessment as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January,” Shah added.
“If a property owner is still concerned about their assessment after speaking to one of our appraisers, they may submit a Notice of Complaint (Appeal) by Jan. 31, for an independent review by a Property Assessment Review Panel.”
The Property Assessment Review Panels, independent of BC Assessment, are appointed annually by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and typically meet between Feb. 1 and March 15 to hear formal complaints.