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Property assessments expected to rise despite real estate cooling off

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The after-effects of a blistering hot real estate market will be felt into 2023, as B.C. Assessment warns property owners to be prepared for a five to 15 per cent jump in their annual property assessments.

Although the market cooled off considerably across the province in the second half of this year, assessment values are still expected to eclipse those of last year, according to preliminary information gathered by the assessment authority.

Assessor Bryan Murao emphasized that assessments are based on market values for similar properties sold up to and around July 1 of this year, a few months after property prices peaked in March and April.

Since July 1, the market has changed as interest rates continue to rise and overall sales volume has declined, he said. “As a result, your next property assessment will likely be higher than what the current market value might be.”

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The new assessment notices will be mailed out in the first week of January.

The assessment is the estimate of a property’s market value as of July 1 and physical condition as of Oct. 31.

To determine value, assessors take into account current sales in an area as well as the size, age, quality, condition, view and location of a property.

In January 2022, homeowners in Greater Victoria saw their annual property assessments increase by an average of 22 to 35 per cent — something that could happen again this year for some owners, Murao said.

The assessment authority is once again sending early notification letters to a small number of properties around B.C. that could experience an increase or decrease in value outside the normal range — including those facing a 30 to 40 per cent increase or decrease.

Murao said no single region experienced more of an increase than others. “What the market has done is quite smooth across the entire province — you’ve got typical changes everywhere,” he said.

On Vancouver Island, the larger increases tend to be in urban areas, especially where new condo developments have been built, but there are no “hotspots” of note.

Changes in assessed value do not necessarily mean a change to amounts paid in property taxes — what affects individual property taxes are assessment changes relative to the average change in their community. A higher-than-average increase might bring higher taxes, while a bigger-than-average drop might decrease them.

Those who feel that their property assessments do not reflect market value as of July 1 can appeal, but Murao said the assessment authority does not expect to see much of an increase in the number of homeowners challenging their assessments this year.

Each year, more than 98 per cent of property owners accept their property assessments without proceeding to a formal, independent review.

Murao said one of the reasons for the low appeal rate is the public seems to have a better understanding of the true relationship between assessed values and property taxes.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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Nanaimo Real Estate Market Report: January 2023 – Nanaimo News NOW

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Nanaimo Real Estate Market Report: January 2023  Nanaimo News NOW

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Montreal home sales down 36% from January 2022: Quebec real estate association

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MONTREAL — The Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers says Montreal’s January home sales fell to a level not seen since 2009 as the market slowdown continued.
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The Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers says Montreal’s January home sales fell to a level not seen since 2009 as the market slowdown continued. A woman walks by a house for sale in Montreal, Friday, March 4, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL — The Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers says Montreal’s January home sales fell to a level not seen since 2009 as the market slowdown continued.

The association says last month’s sales totalled 1,791, down 36 per cent from 2,816 in January 2022.

Charles Brant, the association’s market analysis director, says these numbers mean activity is approaching a historic low for the month of January and come as rising interest rates are weighing on homebuyers.

He says first-time homebuyers in particular are taking a cautious wait-and-see attitude despite recent drops in prices.

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The median price of a single-family home edged down seven per cent to $500,000 year over year, while condos dipped three per cent to $370,000 and plexes dropped six per cent to $675,000.

As median prices fell so did new listings, which hit 4,598 compared with 4,808 a year ago.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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B.C. residential real estate investors unfairly ‘painted as speculators’: BCREA

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Statistics Canada released data last week revealing 23.3 per cent of B.C. homeowners are also investors in the market. The Vancouver census metropolitan area (CMA) had an overall investment rate in condominiums and houses of 21.3 per cent.

“Investors often get kind of painted as speculators who are out to buy up housing and do nothing with it, or flippers or any other kind of pejorative terms that we add to investors. But what this data shows, and what’s good to understand, is that they’ve really invested a lot in a primary rental in Canada,” said Brendon Ogmundson. “A lot of the rental units that are being provided are smaller investors who own one unit and are renting it out.”

Statistics Canada defines an investor as an “owner who owns at least one residential property that is not used as their primary place of residence.” 

In B.C., 73 per cent of properties with multiple dwellings were owner-occupied investment properties. Investor-occupants are more common in the province, making up 9.6 per cent of owners.

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This is due to a higher proportion of properties with multiple residential units – 11.7 per cent – such as laneway units or basement suites, according Statistics Canada. The national statistics agency said these types of units are more likely to be owner-occupied.

“So many owners in B.C. have chosen to also be landlords by renting out their basement suites or laneway houses and it’s way, way different than any other province in this dataset,” Ogmundson said. 

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Statistics Canada data breaking down homeowners by investor-type. 
The region of Greater Vancouver A or Electoral Area A, which includes the University Endowment Lands, Barnston Island, Howe Sound communities, Indian Arm and Pitt Lake communities, had a higher proportion of houses and condominium apartments used as an investment at 42.1 per cent compared with the rest of the region. 

The City of Vancouver had a lower proportion at 32.5 per cent.

This difference is attributed to students attending the University of British Columbia, who are more likely to be renters or live in a second property owned by a family member, according to Statistics Canada. 

The proportion of condominium apartments owned for investment purposes by non-resident investors was the highest in B.C. among the provinces – seven per cent.

The rate of condominium apartments used as investment was lower in the Vancouver CMA (34 per cent) than the rest of the province.

Across B.C., non-residents and out-of-province investors owned 43,890 houses used as an investment. This number was typically higher in areas near the Alberta border. 

Out-of-province investors owned 1.6 per cent of homes in B.C., while in-province investors accounted for 9.8 per cent of all investors. 

clwilson@glaciermedia.ca

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