Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Assessment notices – a wake-up call for property owners

Property owners throughout BC received their 2012 assessment notice the first week of January from BC Assessment.

This notice is BC Assessment’s (BCA) estimate of a property’s value as of July 1, 2011, and for new construction or substantially renovated homes, the physical condition as of October 31, 2011.

BCA is the government agency responsible for determining and reporting property value estimates for the 1,917,394 properties in its database, a 0.75% increase in the number of properties since 2011.

BC Assessment and a REALTOR® assessment. Why the difference?

BCA’s assessment and the market value determined by a REALTOR® may be different. Why?

Both BCA assessors and REALTORS® calculate market value by analyzing sales of comparable homes within a local market, and look at factors that affect value such as size of home, view, location – on a busy or quiet street, number of bedrooms, construction quality, floor level, and garage or parking stalls.

Where every lot and every home on a street are typically the same, both BCA’s value and a REALTOR’s® value will be similar during stable market conditions.

Differences occur in neighbourhoods where lots have been rezoned or are different shapes and sizes, where architecture and views are unique, and where owners have made changes that BCA hasn’t yet taken into account.

Differences also occur during market instability when prices rise or fall during the six-month period between July 1 and January 1 the following year.

Wake-up call – how to appeal an assessment

Since July 1, 2011 home owners may have seen prices stalling in some neighbourhoods and rising in others. Assessments may reflect these changes.

The deadline to appeal is January 31, 2012

Property owners who disagree with their assessment should do their homework by visiting www.bcassessment.ca and then e-valueBC to compare their assessment with those of their neighbours. Each year, about 1.6% of all BC property owners appeal their assessment.

Property owners should first contact their local assessment office and talk to staff who can make adjustments if there is an obvious error, for example if BCA includes a new swimming pool, when, in fact, the pool is a shallow fish pond.


Area assessors’ phone numbers:

Property owners who decide to appeal must file a written request by January 31, 2012. For information, visit www.bcassessment.ca and select Learn more about the Notice of Complaint (Appeal) process and the Property Assessment Review Panel.

What can an appeal mean for a property owner?

While BCA determines the assessed value of property tax for tax purposes, it’s the local taxing authorities – both provincial and local governments – which set tax rates each spring according budget requirements.

The formula for calculating taxes on property is:

Tax Rate x Assessed Value / 1,000

If the tax rate is 4.000 and the property assessment is $1 million, then the taxes payable are $4,000.

No notice

Property owners who haven’t received an assessment notice by mid-January should contact the area phone numbers listed above or request their tax notice online at www.bcassessment.ca. (See Receive your assessment notice online - right hand side).

If a property owner has concerns about their local taxes, they should contact their local government office. Taxes aren’t appealable.

New feature - save assessment data

Visit www.bcassessment.ca and select e-valueBC to view and compare the assessed value of any BC property. A new feature this year lets you download and save assessment data as a PDF or an Excel file.

Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Balanced real estate market prevailed through much of 2011

The 2011 Greater Vancouver housing market began with heightened demand in regional hot spots and concluded with greater balance between seller supply and buyer demand.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that total sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in 2011 reached 32,390, a 5.9 per cent increase from the 30,595 sales recorded in 2010, and a 9.2 per cent decrease from the 35,669 residential sales in 2009. Last year’s home sale total was 6.3 per cent below the ten-year average for annual Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales in the region.

The number of residential properties listed for sale on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver increased 2.7 per cent in 2011 to 59,549 compared to the 58,009 properties listed in 2010. Looking back further, last year’s total represents a 12.8 per cent increase compared to the 52,869 residential properties listed in 2009. Last year’s listing total was 11.1 per cent above the ten year average for annual Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) property listings in the region.

It was a relatively balanced year for the real estate market in Greater Vancouver with listing totals slightly above historical norms and sale numbers slightly below.

Residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,658 in December 2011, a decrease of 12.7 per cent from the 1,899 sales recorded in December 2010 and a 29.7 per cent decline compared to November 2011 when 2,360 home sales occurred.

More broadly, last month’s residential sales represent a 34.1 per cent decrease over the 2,515 residential sales in December 2009, a 79.4 per cent increase compared to December 2008’s 924 sales, and a 12.6 per cent decrease compared to the 1,897 sales in December 2007.

The overall residential benchmark price, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, for Greater Vancouver increased 7.6 per cent to $621,674 between Decembers 2010 and 2011. However, prices have decreased 1.5 per cent since hitting a peak of $630,921 in June 2011.

Our market remained in a balanced state for most of the year, although higher levels of demand for detached properties in the region’s largest communities caused prices in certain areas to rise higher than others. For example, the benchmark price of a single-family detached home experienced double-digit increases in nine areas within the region over the last 12 months.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,629 in December 2011. This represents a 4.1 per cent decline compared to the 1,699 units listed in December 2010 and a 49.4 per cent decline compared to November 2011 when 3,222 properties were listed.

Sales of detached properties in December 2011 reached 630, a decrease of 18.1 per cent from the 769 detached sales recorded in December 2010, and a 30.2 per cent decrease from the 902 units sold in December 2009. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 11.2 per cent from December 2010 to $887,471.

Sales of apartment properties reached 774 in December 2011, a decline of 4.6 per cent compared to the 811 sales in December 2010, and a decrease of 32.9 per cent compared to the 1,154 sales in December 2009.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 3.7 per cent from December 2010 to $401,396.

Attached property sales in December 2011 totalled 254, a decline of 20.4 per cent compared to the 319 sales in December 2010, and a 44.7 per cent decrease from the 459 attached properties sold in December 2009. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4.2 per cent between December 2010 and 2011 to $511,499.

Source Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver