A picture of Port Alberni's mountain background with "47%???" over top.
Photo Credit: Steve Kendall / Facebook / VanIsle.News Staff

Property Assessments Go Up Up Up

Many Island towns had the biggest jumps

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When Islanders got their property assessments this week pretty much everyone went “whoa”

Assessment notices are landing in mailboxes this week. There is one strong trend across all of BC—assessed property values are going up. In some places, they’re going up big time.

The biggest jumps are enough to make your eyes pop out.

Port Alberni came out on top on VanIsle, though no one is sure if that’s a good thing. The assessed property value for a single-family house in the city went up by 47%.

In Ucluelet and Port McNeil, assessed property values increased by 43%. In Tofino, they went up by 42%. As a result, a typical single-family home there is now valued at $1,358,000.

But these aren’t the biggest increases in BC. The Village of Port Clements on Haida Gwaii saw a mind-boggling increase of 58%. Granted, the average house price is only $125,000, but that’s still huge in a remote town of 282 souls.

Zeballos saw the smallest jump in assessed value. It only went up by 17% there.

People took to Facebook to share their amazement, and their anxiety. In Port Alice, folks talked about a $96,000 increase. Someone’s neighbour in Campbell River saw their assessed value go up by $278,000.

They’re worried about what these steep increases mean. Will taxes go up? Could anyone even afford to buy it if they tried to sell their house?

Richard Stewart, the Mayor of Coquitlam, also jumped on Facebook. But he got on there with a crash course on municipal taxes. His post, called “I’m mad at you about my Property Assessment,” is worth a read.

But the basic lesson is that just because your assessed property value went through the roof doesn’t mean your taxes will, too.

These jumps in assessed value do mean one thing, though—it’s getting tougher for new people to get into the housing market.

Leo Spalteholz is a housing analyst with House Hunt Victoria. “Once you move over the million-dollar mark, it’s not just the raw increase; it’s that you need a lot more wealth to get into that house,” he told CHEK News.

Now, most houses on VanIsle don’t cost $1 million. But folks everywhere are feeling the squeeze of rising house prices.

Renters can’t find places to live. Campgrounds that housed residents in the pandemic went back to campers. Proposals to build affordable housing are getting shut down, even when those projects are for seniors.

“It’s definitely extremely concerning, and I think governments are starting to wake up to the fact that they can’t ignore it anymore,” said Spalteholz.

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