The province’s tax assessments are in the mail and it’s good news if North Island homeowners are staying put, not so good if they’re looking to sell.
The province lowered values throughout the Tri-port area and Port Hardy was the hardest hit with some areas seeing a 15 per cent drop in value.
However, some places in Port Hardy will see a 15 per cent increase.
That means, based on a home valued at $200,000, a $30,000 drop in price, or a $30,000 hike, in some cases.
“Most homes in North Vancouver Island will see moderate decreases or little change in value compared to last year’s assessment roll,” said
Vancouver Island regional assessor Bill MacGougan.
“But,” he admitted, a 30 per cent spread is on the wide side.”
“It’s usually not that wide of a dispersion in terms of changes (but) it does probably signify something going on locally.”
But the Tri-port area is still better off than those in Tahsis, where assessments in some areas dropped by 25 per cent.
Meanwhile, Multiple Listing Service sales summary data released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board showed 2011 was a solid and stable year for real estate activity on Vancouver Island.
Across VIREB’s six zones, average sales prices remained virtually unchanged from what they were in 2010.
The 2011 average sales price for a home sold within VIREB’s coverage area was $341,537, down incrementally from 2010’s $342,324 average price.
MacGougan said that data is useful because assessments aren’t, as some believe, arbitrary decisions.
“They’re just based on what people are paying for properties, of course,” he said.
“Maybe people moving into the communities a number of years ago were paying a certain premium for anything that had a view and that premium might have grown over the years, but it can all suddenly disappear one year.”
Port Alice also faces a 30 per cent swing with property values dropping 10 per cent in some areas and climbing 20 per cent in others.
Port Mcneill fared a little better with a 20 per cent swing; 10 per cent down in some areas and 10 per cent down in others.
“I like to remind people the whole point is to fairly distribute the cost of local infrastructure,” said MacGougan.
“Having said that, we really want people to look at their assessment notice and make sure we have the exemptions and that the value seems reasonable.”
“Property owners who feel that their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2011 or see incorrect information on their notice should contact our office as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January,” said MacGougan.
“If a property owner is still concerned about their assessment after speaking to one of our appraisers, they may submit a Notice of Complaint (Appeal) by January 31, for an independent review by a Property Assessment Review Panel,” he said.
“It’s a fair, independent process which is the first level of appeal.”
MacGougan added if folks want to contest the assessment, they must appeal before the Jan. 31 deadline.
North Island Assements
• Port Hardy: -15 per cent to +15 per cent
• Port Alice: -10 to +20
• Port McNeill: -10 to +10
• Alert Bay: -5 to +15
• Sayward: -10 to 0
• Zeballos: -5 to 0