Trail’s property assessment took the biggest tumble in the region, according to BC Assessment’s annual report, but a drop of nearly seven per cent is still considered stable.
Owners of more than 142,000 properties throughout the Kootenay Columbia region can now expect to receive their 2016 assessment notices, which reflect market value as of July 1, 2015.
“The majority of properties went up between zero and 10 per cent though there were a few jurisdictions where we saw values decrease and Trail was one of them,” explained Ramaish Shah, Kootenay Columbia regional deputy assessor.
“I would say a difference of minus-10 to plus-10 per cent change is considered relatively stable in the market place. We see that year over year.”
A typical Trail home is valued at $155,000 this year, down from $166,000 in 2015, the report notes. Neighbouring values in Warfield ($193,000 from $194,000), Fruitvale ($216,000 from $217,000) and Salmo ($170,000 from $175,000) dipped slightly while Montrose ($233,000 from $223,000) climbed along with the City of Rossland ($255,000 from $238,000), which took top spot in Greater Trail with a rise of almost seven per cent.
Real estate sales determine a property’s value, which is reported annually by BC Assessment. Overall, the Kootenay Columbia region’s assessment roll increased to $37.89 billion this year from $36.97 billion in 2015, which is reflective of market movement as well as $361 million in growth due to subdivisions, rezoning and new construction.
New development is few and far between in Trail and is considered one ingredient to a healthy market, according to realtor Mary Martin of Century21 in Trail. The professional with 28 years experience said the city needs new people to buy in, but recruitment isn’t possible without employment opportunities.
“I think the last couple of years we’ve had a slower real estate market and it has been a little bit more favoured in terms of buyers than sellers,” she said. Supply and demand generate change in prices, and when we have more sellers than buyers, it puts pressure on prices.”
This has certainly been the case for some sellers who may have opted to lower the price of their home to move some real estate, which may have been reflective in the latest of the city’s assessment.
Changes pertain to movement in the local real estate market and can vary greatly from property to property. When estimating a property’s market value, BC Assessment’s appraisers analyze current sales in the area, as well as consider other characteristics such as size, age, quality, condition, view and location.
While values have dropped in Trail, not every home has gone down $10,000 in estimated value.
“Not every assessment is correct for every house if you relate it to the selling price,” Martin adds. “There may be two houses in one neighbourhood and they might be assessed the same but one might need many updates and the other might have had lots of updates, and BC Assessment may not have seen that.”
Martin remains hopeful that the city’s vision for development along the Esplanade paired with its list of new amenities, a walking bridge and new library top of mind, will drive further new development and attract newcomers. Again, Trail lacks people and this, she attributes, could be due to few listed jobs.
“Young people getting employed in the area is really the crux of what’s needed,” she said. “Hopefully, the fortunes turn for Teck this year and we get more hiring because that’s a big part of it.”
Property owners can see for themselves at bcassessment.ca, a revamped website that includes more details about 2016 assessments, property information and trends such as lists of 2016’s top most valuable residential properties across the province. Nelson, for instance, is noted as the highest valued community in the West Kootenay, according to BC Assessment. Trail did not make the Top 100 highest-valued properties in the region, which led with a $5.25 million home in Invermere. The most expensive West Kootenay property listed is an acreage at 1659 Highway 3A at Four Mile, assessed at $2.4 million.
The website also provides self-service access to the free online e-valueBC service that allows anyone to search, check and compare 2016 property assessments anywhere in the province.
Those who feel that their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2015, or see incorrect information on their notice, should contact BC Assessment as soon as possible.
“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 February 1, for an independent review by a Property Assessment Review Panel,” adds Shah.