The average price of a single family home in Rossland has increased by 33 per cent over the past year, according to an annual report released by BC Assessment.
At $504,000, the average price of a home in the Golden City in 2021 was the highest among municipalities in Greater Trail, over $120,000 more than the previous year’s average of $380,000.
“Your property assessment should reflect what you could have sold your property for last summer, had you wanted to, within a reasonable range,” says Sharlynn Hill, deputy assessor for Kootenay Columbia.
Hill added that the assessed value is not an indication of what it might sell for today, nor is it an indication of how much your municipal taxes will be.
BC Assessment is a provincial Crown corporation that classifies and values all real estate property in British Columbia.
The assessed values are based on the amount a house would probably have sold for on July 1, 2021, given the market conditions at the time.
In Trail, the average price of a home is one of the lowest in the Kootenays at $303,000, but still up significantly, 32 per cent, from a 2020 value of $230,000.
A Warfield home averages $371,000 in 2022, up from $277,000 in 2021, while Montrose went from $316,000 to $410,000 and Fruitvale from $301,000 to $383,000.
Percentage increases in values in the West Kootenay Boundary area, from highest to lowest, are: Greenwood (53), Slocan (51), Warfield (34), Grand Forks (33), Rossland (33), Trail (32), Kaslo (31), Montrose (30), Midway (29), Nelson (28), Creston (27), Fruitvale (27), Nakusp (25), New Denver (23), Castlegar (21), Salmo (19) and Silverton (15).
The highest average price for a home in the West Kootenay is in Nelson at $646,000, up 28 per cent from $504,000 more than a year ago.
Hill thinks the increases can be attributed to a number of factors.
“Looking at the real estate market across the province,” she says, “we’ve seen record low housing supply, low interest rates, and an ongoing robust demand.”
And the mobility of the population has increased, she says, often to smaller communities in rural areas that are seen as desirable.
Chuck Bennett, past president of the Kootenay Realtor’s Association, says realtors knew BC Assessment would report a 20-to-30 per cent increase at July 1, 2021, because that’s what sales data from last year told them.
But he says the assessed value is of limited use to realtors.
“We don’t use BC Assessment to value houses,” he says. “We look at recent comparison sales, similar houses in similar areas, interest rates, lenders’ stress tests.”
But now that the new assessment numbers are out, he says, buyers and sellers will be asking realtors about assessed value.
“And that will cloud the conversations about true value and what things are going to sell for over the next year,” Bennett says. “Because no one really knows.”
Hill said a common misunderstanding is that an increase in assessed value will mean a commensurate property tax increase.
“The most important factor is not how much your assessed value has changed, but how your assessed value has changed relative to the average change for your property class in your municipality,” she says.
If your property’s value change is lower than the average for the municipality in your property category, your taxes will probably decrease. If it is roughly the same, you taxes are likely to stay approximately the same. If it is higher than the average, your taxes are likely to go up.
The BC Assessment website (bcassessment.ca) has a search tool in which the assessed value of any property in B.C. can be discovered by entering the civic address.
With files from Bill Metcalf, Nelson Star