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Home assessments here crack $5 billion

The latest figures from BC Assessment indicate the value of houses in the Comox Valley have increased over the course of the past year, the total value exceeding $5 billion. Last year was $4.975 billion.

According to the 2011 assessment roll, the value of single-family dwellings in Courtenay have jumped $20,000 over the course of the year while Cumberland homes are worth about $15,000 more. Most Valley homeowners can expect to see changes in a range from minus-five per cent to plus-10 per cent from the 2010 assessment roll.

Jim Stewart, deputy assessor for the Vancouver Island region of BC Assessment, said 2011 assessments are valued as of market conditions on July 1, 2010.

While the market was slower in the latter part of 2010, Stewart said prices were approaching all-time highs in late-spring and early-summer. 

“Although sales volume dropped off sharply in the second half of the year, prices were slow to retreat from those peaks,” he said. 

Along with market shifts, assessed value changes include new construction and new subdivisions. New homes, renovations and additions are added to the assessment roll each year — often referred to as Non-Market Change — which accounts for a “significant amount of the positive shifts in assessed values,” Stewart said. 

Although residential single family assessment totals increased 5.66 per cent on aggregate across the Valley, the portion of this change attributable to market shifts is approximately 3.59 per cent overall, he added.

Stewart also said higher values does not necessarily translate into higher property taxes. Assessments are only part of the property taxation formula, which takes into account tax rates set by local governments after assessments are finalized.

In fact, property owners with increased assessments often see taxes stay at similar levels or in some cases drop.

Property owners who feel their 2011 assessment does not reflect market value or who see incorrect information are advised to contact the office indicated on their notice as soon as possible.

Those still concerned after speaking to an appraiser can submit an appeal by Jan. 31.

The Courtenay Assessment Office is at 2488 Idiens Way. Office hours in January are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

BC Assessment provides a listing of property assessments and sales at www.bcassessment.ca.

Click on the e-valueBC link. Copies of neighbourhood assessments are also available at area offices, and at most municipal halls and government agent’s offices.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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