By the Numbers: How Lower BC Tax Assessment Values May Impact the Market

Steve Saretsky -

Homeowners across Greater Vancouver were greeted with an unpleasant surprise to start the New Year. BC Assessment values were officially released for the calendar year, with nearly all areas reporting a noticeable decline in home values. Owners of more than 1,040,000 properties throughout the Lower Mainland can check their 2020 assessment notices here.

The summaries below provides estimates of typical 2019 versus 2020 assessed values of properties throughout the region.

Single family home assessments show the sharpest declines in UBC and West Vancouver, both dropping by 16%. While Whistler marked the largest increase, growing 5%.

BC assessment values 2020
Single family home BC assessment value changes for 2020.

Meanwhile, in the strata space (condos/townhouses) we can see West Vancouver leading the pack once again, with assessment values dropping 10%.

BC strata assessment values 2020
Strata assessment values for 2020.

Keep in mind, assessment values are reflective of market value as of July 1, 2019. Further, the drop in values does not mean a reduced tax burden for homeowners. In fact, many municipalities simply adjusted their mill rate higher to offset the decline in property values, thus in many cases property taxes still increased for a majority of homeowners.

A lot of people are asking my thoughts on assessment values and how it will impact the market. In my opinion, a drop in assessment values does not automatically suggest prices will fall further. Although, typically buyers and sellers anchor on tax assessment values for psychological reasons, which will make it interesting to see how the market ultimately digests this new information.

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