Home owners across British Columbia should have received their property assessments during the first week of January, 2011. The BC Assessment (BCA) is an estimate of a property’s value from July 2010, do don’t be alarmed if you thought your home was worth more than their projection.

BCA is the government body designated to determine the value of all properties across British Columbia.

“The majority of homes in Metro Vancouver are worth more on this year’s assessment roll than they were on the 2010 assessment roll,” said Jason Grant, Area Assessor, Vancouver Sea to Sky region. “Most homes will see increases in the 5 per cent to 15 per cent range.”

Not surprisingly, property values increased considerably in most areas throughout Metro Vancouver, these increases were not exclusive to Vancouver real estate. Here is a brief breakdown of these increases:

Richmond: 17.14%
West Vancouver: 13.03%
Vancouver: 12.17%
Burnaby: 12.07%
Delta: 9.22%
Coquitlam: 9.12%
New Westminster: 9.11%
North Vancouver District: 8.84%
Port Coquitlam: 8.78%
North Vancouver City: 8.05%
Port Moody: 7.58%
Pitt Meadows: 6.44%
Maple Ridge: 5.54%
Squamish: 1.99%

Property values actually decreased in Whistler by 2.06% and 1.87% in Pemberton.

If you would like more specific details on each district and their property assessments, please visit BC Assessments and click on the ‘Information About The 2011 Roll” and then on the “2011 Market Movement Map”.

How is each property’s value determined?
There are several factors that go into assessing a property’s value. BCA appraisers look at: lot size, house type, condition, views, age of the property and whether there is a shed or detached garage.

What if you think your property was assessed incorrectly?
If you feel your assessment was below your expected value, your best first approach is to compare your assessment with that of your neighbours. You can do this by visiting BC Assessments and then clicking on the E-ValueBC link.

You can also call the BCA and talk with an assessor from your area who is authorized to reassess the property only if an obvious error had been made like a garage that had been torn down but was included in the evaluation.

For your convenience, we have included these numbers below:
• 604-739-8588 for properties in Vancouver, North Shore and Squamish.
• 604-241-1361 for properties in Richmond and South Delta.
• 604-294-6441 for properties in Anmore, Belcarra, Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.
• 604-850-5900 for properties in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.

If you’re still not satisfied and want to take things a step further, you can complete an online form (Online Notice of Complaint) available at BC Assessments. Look for “For information on how to address concerns about your 2011 assessment.”

Appeal Quickly!
The deadline to appeal is only 3 weeks after you receive your notice of assessment, so don’t delay. Each complaint is heard by Property Assessment Review Panel. These panels are independent of the BCA, who are appointed each year by the Ministry of Small Business. If you’re still not content with your response from this panel, you can take your complaint to the Assessment Appeal Board, who will review and respond. These bodies meet from February 1st to March 15 to hear complainants in person.

Did you get your notice?
If you haven’t received your property assessment notice by January 17th, you should contact the proper area phone number listed above, particularly given the small window for appealing a potentially incorrect assessment.

What is the difference between the BCA and a Realtor’s Assessment?
Why would the value of your home differ between a realtor’s assessment and the BCA? A realtor will take real-life factors when assessing a property where a BC Assessor will only look at the hard data. Also, depending on whether a home owner has completed renovations before July 1st of the assessment year, the BCA will not reason this in. Other factors include lot shapes, views and unique architecture.

The Correlation Between Property Assessment and Property Taxes
The BCA is only indirectly involved with determining property taxes. It is the provincial and local governments who base your taxes on the assessed value according to their formula: tax rate x assessed value /1,000. For example if the tax rate for your home is 4.000 and your property has been assessed at $1 Million, your annual taxes will be $4,000.

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