Homeowners in the Eastern Fraser Valley will be in for a double-digit surprise as 2019 assessment notices arrive in the mail over the next few days.
The average assessed value of a single family home in Chilliwack increased 10 per cent from $559,000 in 2018 to $613,000 for 2019, according to BC Assessment.
In Harrison Hot Springs, that jump was 13 per cent from $539,000 to $609,000; in the District of Kent it was 16 per cent from $441,000 to $512,000; and in Hope assessments of single family homes were up 17 per cent from $356,000 to $416,000.
“I think on percentage terms we are seeing the total value of these properties increasing as people are looking at, say, the Township of Langley the average house is $972,000 now and look at Abbotsford at $758,000. People are looking to find an area that is affordable for them,” said Brian Smith, deputy assessor for the Fraser Valley Region for BC Assessment.
Smith also explained that the percentage increases can be misleading as most areas saw a similar dollar-value jump, but in Hope and Agassiz, for example, the starting point was lower so the percentage jump is higher.
So while Chilliwack saw an average increase in value of $54,000 or 10 per cent, Surrey’s average assessed value went up $38,000 but from $1,004,000 to $1,042,000 that was just a four per cent increase.
— BC Assessment (@bcassessment) January 2, 2019
White Rock and Richmond actually saw two per cent declines in assessed values, but that put the average house at $1.3 million and $1.5 million respectively.
The rising valuations for single family homes is also meaning the demand for apartments and townhouses is on the rise as people search out affordability.
“This past year, we continued to see strong market activity in the strata residential market throughout the region, where as the single family residential market was relatively stable,” Smith said.
In Chilliwack, the average strata assessed value went from $289,000 in 2018 up 23 per cent to $355,000 this year.
That compares to Langley’s increase of 27 per cent from $311,000 to $396,000 and Abbotsford’s increase of 28 per cent from $275,000 to $353,000.
The increase in assessed values often leads to the mistaken assumption that homeowners will see a similar increase in property taxes. Smith pointed out this is not the case.
“It is important to understand that increases in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding increase in property taxes,” Smith explained. “How your assessment changes relative to the average change in your community is what may affect your property taxes.”