Break out the champagne, Property Assessments are Here!

(April 03, 2015, posted in Real Estate News)

It's that time of year again! Property Assessment time. The time of year when homeowners throughout the Metro Vancouver area discover what the local government feels their property is actually worth. Now, as a Realtor, I will tell you that government assessments are - at best - a guideline for actual market value. They are a starting point for sure but definitely not an absolute in "what is my home worth". None the less, these assessments do determine the amount of property tax you will pay annually and depending on where you live, these rates can be quite high. Assessments have already been sent out to homeowners, so if you haven't yet received yours you likely soon will. 

HOW ARE GRANTS CALCULATED?

Most homeowners are aware that as primary residents, they are entitled to a homeowner grant in the amount of $570 off the amount of their annual property taxes. Additional grants are available to seniors and homeowners with a disability. What many homeowners don't realize is that the value of the home affects the basic homeowner grant you are normally entitled to once your property assessment exceeds $1.1 million. Specifically, if the value of the home is $1.1 million or more the government will claw back $5.00 for every $1000 over that amount. Therefore, if your property is assessed at $1.214 million or more there is no homeowner grant available.

OUR LOCAL MARKET

As we live in an area of ever increasing house prices, this will considerably impact the grants of many local homeowners. South Surrey / White Rock currently has a Benchmark price of $959,700 for the "typical" peninsula home and a median price of $1,050,000. These numbers indicate that half of the sales in South Surrey / White Rock are over $1,050,000 in the first quarter of 2015. It is accurate to assume that a great deal of these sales are also over the $1.214 million mark as well.

So, while there may be cause for celebration in a high Property Assessment there is an immediate price to pay for this high assessment on your home. In the long run, the saving of $570 annually is likely negated by the increase in market value on your home but certainly something to be aware of.

CHALLENGING YOUR PROPERTY ASSESSMENT

You do have the option to challenge your Property Assessment if you feel your home is valued too high or too low. Appeals can be made to BC Assessment and further information on the appeal process can be found at http://www.bcassessment.ca/Pages/default.aspx . 

If you are considering challenging your assessment and are in need of a second opinion give me a call. I am always available and happy to assist with an independent market evaluation of your home. 

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