Property values soar across Vancouver Island

New assessment rolls reveal jumps of between 10 and 25 per cent, with Ucluelet leading the way

Property values are up pretty much all over Vancouver Island and no town is feeling it more than Ucluelet.

The average Ucluelet property rose from $290,000 to $366,000 between July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017, according to a report released by B.C. Assessment on Tuesday — the largest jump on Vancouver Island.

“Lots of demand and no supply,” is the main reason behind a rapid rise in Ucluelet’s property values, according to realtor Judy Gray of RE/MAX Mid-Island Realty.

It’s a similar situation across the Island according to B.C. Assessment, which identified the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, Victoria and the Okanagan as B.C. regions that can expect significant increases for a detached single family home.

“The majority of residential homeowners within the region can expect an increase in their assessment in the 10 per cent to 25 percent range as compared to last year’s assessment,” says Assessor Tina Ireland in a Jan. 2 press release.

“The market has remained strong across the island and across property types. The residential strata market has been particularly robust with assessments increasing 15% to 35% in many areas,” added Ireland.

In the capital region, Sidney (20 per cent), Langford (21 per cent) and Metchosin (25 per cent) recorded the highest increases in assessed values. These figures offer additional confirmation of the growth that has taken place outside the CRD’s core area in the search for housing.

James Island off Sidney topped the 2018 list of the most valued residential property in the Vancouver Island catchment area, with a total value of $54.43 million. Two properties on Oak Bay’s Humber Road — both valued at just over $15 million — round out the Top 3 for Vancouver Island.

Overall, Oak Bay is home to seven out of the 10 most valued properties in the Vancouver Island catchment, and 41 of the top 100, however, residents inside the tweed curtain experienced one of the lowest increases in the southern half of Vancouver Island.

The average assessed value of residential homes in Oak Bay in 2017 was $1,036,000 versus $1,156,000 for 2018 – a 12 per cent rise.

North of the Malahat, property values in Tofino rose 14 per cent, Qualicum Beach 16 per cent, Parksville nearly 18 per cent, Nanaimo 16 per cent, the Comox Valley 14 to 18 per cent, Ladysmith 17 per cent, Port Alberni 21 per cent, Campbell River 15 per cent and the Cowichan Valley 12 to 15 per cent.

Smaller increases — between 4 and 7 per cent, were seen across most North Island communities. The Village of Zeballos was the only community to see a decrease in average assessed value, with a four per cent drop from the 2017 value of $89,000 to 2018’s $85,000.

“It is important to understand that increases in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding increase in property taxes,” said Ireland. “How your assessment changes relative to the average change in your community is what may affect your property taxes.”

BC Assessment notes that changes in property assessments reflect movement in the local real estate market and can vary greatly from property to property.

Assessments appear as of July 1, 2017 and capture six variables: location, size of home, size of lot, age of home, miscellaneous features that can affect value, and comparable sales prices and other real estate market information.

Property owners who wish to challenge their assessments face an appeal deadline of Jan. 31, 2017. A review panel will hear assessment complaints between February 1st and March 15th of each year. A second level of appeal is also available.

Gerry Marolla, deputy assessor for the Vancouver Island assessment region, said the “bulk” of filings come from individuals who feel their assessment is too high. But individuals file for a variety of reasons, he said. They believe their assessment is too low in anticipation of pending real estate sale, they may wish to claim farm status, or continue to receive an exemption.

Over 98 per cent of property owners typically accept their property assessment without proceeding to a formal, independent review of their assessment.

BC Assessment’s website provides a listing of property assessments and sales to help property owners understand their property’s market value and provide comparable sales information.

For yours, go to bcassessment.ca and use “Find your property assessment”

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