Higher taxes ahead for some, decreases for others after assessment jump

Those who saw home values jump by 50 per cent could end up paying hundreds more in property taxes

BC Assessment released its annual figures this week

BC Assessment released its annual figures this week

Many Abbotsford homeowners will be paying upwards of $500 more in taxes this year after seeing the assessed values of their properties increase by more than the city average.

Meanwhile, those whose home values increased by less than 20 per cent will likely save hundreds of dollars.

Earlier this week, BC Assessment announced that the values of homes in Abbotsford increased an average of 32.8 per cent.

But while that fact alone won’t trigger large property tax increases for Abbotsford residents, major variations in how those increases impact throughout the city will result in much higher tax bills for some homeowners.

BC Assessment had already sent out letters to around 5,600 property owners in Abbotsford warning of above-average increases in their assessments. Last year, less than one-tenth of that number received letters. While figures are released in January, they reflect a home’s assessed value the previous July.

Because municipal tax rates are pegged to a revenue target, the owner of a house rising by the city average of 32.8 per cent would see their city tax bill rise by around 2.13 per cent, reflecting the tax increase proposed by city staff.

The owner of an average home previously assessed at $429,000 and rising by the city average to $569,000 this year would pay about $76 more in combined city and school taxes – the latter is set by the province and generally pegged to inflation.

But many homeowners saw higher assessment jumps in the range of 50 per cent, and they will be paying hundreds of dollars more in tax. A $429,000 house that saw its value increase by 50 per cent to $643,500 would cost its owners around $550 extra in taxes.

Many houses that saw such large increases were priced below $400,000 last year. While tax increases will be proportionally smaller, the owners of such homes will still be paying hundreds more in taxes.

On the bright side, the larger tax bills come alongside dramatically increased equity in the market values of people’s homes.

The increases will also push some homes past the $1.2 million threshold that is the cut-off for homeowners seeking the basic $570 homeowner grant.

But not everyone will come out paying more.

A homeowner whose property value didn’t budge at all last year will see their taxes dip by 23 per cent. That would equate to a massive $829 tax cut for someone with a $429,000 house.

A house that saw a more modest 15 per cent increase in value from $429,000 to $493,350 would pay $413 less in taxes.