With BC Assessment releasing its 2018 property assessments this week, the first question on many Abbotsford residents’ minds will be: “What does this mean for my property tax bill?”
Across the city, residential property values increased by an average of 18 per cent, it was revealed on Tuesday.
It will be that bar – and whether a specific house’s value increased more or less than that amount – that will determine how much taxes a homeowner pays later this year.
While the City of Abbotsford is set to increase its projected tax revenue by 2.47 per cent this year, only homeowners who see their assessments rise by the citywide average would see an increase of exactly that amount.
Owners with larger assessment value increases will see their tax bill increase by more, while those whose assessments rose less will see smaller tax increases, or even a drop.
Last year, home values rose by an average of 32 per cent, but some single-family houses saw increases of as much as 50 per cent. That disparity left many facing triple-digit hikes to their property taxes and blaming the city. Politicians, including Henry Braun, expressed frustration with the disparity in assessments, noting the city was collecting just two per cent more tax revenue from residential properties.
This year, strata units have seen the largest increases, with assessments jumping anywhere between 10 and 40 per cent. Condos jumped by 25 to 35 per cent, while most townhome values increased between 20 and 30 per cent.
By comparison, most single-detached residential home values saw increases of between 15 and 25 per cent.
Most strata units have lower values than detached homes and the larger percentage changes, therefore, don’t translate into the kind of massive dollar-value increases seen in recent years, according to BC Assessment deputy assessor Brian Smith.
Smith said the larger percentage jumps among condos and townhomes values is the likely result of increased demand, as more and more buyers are pushed out of the market for single-detached homes. As houses become out of reach for more people, he said, cheaper properties become more attractive and their relatively low supply is driving much of the increases.
The 2018 property assessments were released this week but reflect the value assessed as of July 1, 2017.
Residents who disagree with their assessment are encouraged to contact BC Assessment and if they remain dissatisfied with the result, they can file an appeal by Jan. 31 for an independent review. Smith said fewer than two per cent of assessments are challenged in a typical year and, of those, about 30 per cent see a change in their assessment.