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Private island tops Vancouver Island assessment rolls at $61.23 million

Oak Bay, Saanich Peninsula retain status as likeliest home to Island’s most exclusive properties
Privately owned James Island again topped the list of South Vancouver Island’s highest assessed properties, according to data from BC Assessment for 2023 reflecting market value as of July 1, 2022. Its value stood at $61.23 million. (Sotheby’s International Realty photo)

A private island off of Sidney remains the most valuable property in the Vancouver Island region according to the most recent notices released by B.C. Assessment.

James Island has an assessed value of $61.23 million. Only two other properties in all of British Columbia are worth more.

As most would expect, properties in Oak Bay and on the Saanich Peninsula continue to rank among the most expensive properties in the region, and even the province.

But in terms of assessment growth, it was particularly pronounced Greater Victoria’s West Shore.

Colwood ($1.02 million) and Highlands ($1.326 million) each recorded an increase of 16 per cent — four per cent above the overall increase of 12 per cent for the region as measured by BC Assessment. It includes the 13 municipalities of Greater Victoria plus the Gulf Islands. Langford ($992,000) recorded an increase of 15 per cent while View Royal ($1.132 million) recorded an increase of 14 per cent, tied with Central Saanich ($1.124 million), the only community outside the West Shore to rank among the five communities with the highest increases.

Metchosin ($1.278 million) and Sooke ($831,000) each recorded increases of 11 per cent to underscore the rise of the West Shore as Greater Victoria’s most dynamic region as measured by metrics such as property values and population growth.

Assessments reflect market values as of July 1, 2022. Vancouver Island Deputy Assessor Jodie MacLennan said she could not specifically say why those communities have seen such increases.

“But I can say that we have seen tremendous growth in both of our single-family and our strata-residential property markets in those particular areas,” she said.

Oak Bay, meanwhile, recorded an increase of nine per cent, but retained its rank as the most exclusive municipality when measured by property assessments, at $1.658 million. North Saanich ranks second in Greater Victoria with an average assessment of $1.439 million.

RELATED: Victoria analyst says new real estate cooling-off period tilts power towards buyers

Meanwhile, the biggest dip on the Island is Tahsis, where assessments are down seven per cent.

James Island also points to the prolific place of smaller islands on the list of the highest assessed properties for the Vancouver Island region with seven making the top 20.

Naturally, not everybody can afford an island, but everybody must pay taxes and MacLennan has this important message for taxpayers.

Higher property assessments do not automatically translate into higher property taxes, she said.

“How your assessment changes relative to the average in your community is what may affect property taxes,” she said.

If owners see their property values change similar to the average change for that class, taxes will likely not change. If the change is above the average, taxes will likely increase, while they will likely decrease if the change is below the average. It also depends on the financial needs of municipalities, she added.

She also cautioned against confusing property assessments based on July 2022 figures with future real estate price points.

“(The) 2023 assessments are based on a July 1, 2022 market value, meaning that when similar properties are sold up to around July 1, those sales are used to calculate property assessment values,” she said.

“So since July 1, we (BC Assessment) are aware that the real estate market has changed and interest rates continue to rise and sales volume has declined since then. So as a result the 2023 property assessments are likely to be higher than what the current market value may be. But that will not be the same for everyone in British Columbia.”

Vancouver Island’s total assessments increased from about $342 billion in 2022 to almost $386 billion this year. About $4.78 billion of the region’s updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions and the rezoning of properties.

For more details on how assessments have changed across the Island, click on the following links:

Lavish $16.8M Oak Bay home tops Island’s ‘single-family residence’ assessment

Hornby Island homes account for 3 of the top-10 valued properties in the Comox Valley

Port Alberni sees 8% rise in home assessments in 2023

Top 10 highest-assessed properties in Nanaimo and Lantzville

Ladysmith’s top 10 highest-assessed homes on same street

Lake Cowichan leads the way with 23% increase in home values

Victoria homeowners see increased property assessments this year

Bear Mountain house is West Shore’s most valuable as assessment jumps

Saanich oceanfront among priciest neighbourhoods on Vancouver Island

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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