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Assessments Are Out

Property assessments are out, and as any of you who own property know, they’ve gone up.

West Van’s have gone up 13%. Vancouver’s are up something like 12%. Greater Vancouver overall rose about 17%, as is Richmond.

How does that correspond with the benchmark values we saw in the last stats release?

Vancouver – Assessment increase -12.17%, benchmark increase 8.8% (West) 3.8% (East)
Richmond – Assessment increase -17.14%, benchmark increase 18.3%
Burnaby – Assessment increase -12.07% , benchmark increase 8.2%
West Vancouver- Assessment increase – 13.03%, benchmark increase 10.5%
New Westminster- Assessment increase – 9.11%, benchmark increase 4.5%
North Vancouver (District) – Assessment increase– 8.84%, benchmark decrease -2.2% (City & Dist)
North Vancouver (City)- Assessment increase – 8.05%, benchmark decrease -2.2% (City & Dist)
Delta- Assessment increase – 9.22%, benchmark decrease -3.5% (South Delta)
Coquitlam – Assessment increase– 9.12%, benchmark decrease -0.7%
Port Coquitlam- Assessment increase – 8.78%, benchmark increase 4.6%

(Yes, I know, double negatives and all, but when I say benchmark decrease of -0.7% that means benchmark dropped).

What can we conclude? Should you fight your assessment? Sure. Make sure you do it right now. You have until the end of the month (you get more time to fight eviction for non-payment of rent, but I guess where taxes are concerned the government feels less merciful).

Are taxes going to rise just because assessments are up? Strictly speaking, no, but when Kevin Falcon talks about merit based pay for educators and Christy Clarke says it isn’t worth the fight with the union, remember that the school tax is a big component of property tax. I pay about $500/month for the privilege of living in North Van, not including mortgage, gas, heat, etc. Pure property tax. Add in income tax and its easy to see that one form or government or the other is my biggest cost. Still, assessments are supposed to be equal, not accurate. Taxes go up (and will go up this year almost everywhere) because government is insatiable.

Clearly, assessments aren’t accurate. They seldom are, historically. They’re often relatively fair, however, in that everybody’s assessment is off the mark more or less the same way. The implication of that is clear – property assessments are not an accurate measure of value. Do not pin your hopes on them. Do not base your value argument on them. Do not assume that you’ve made a great deal because you’ve bought at or below assessed value. Sales data is the prime information that you need to determine value.

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