Owners of strata properties in Kelowna are likely to see the assessed value of their homes has dipped compared to last year when they receive their assessment notices in the mail during the next few days. Assessed values for detached, single-family homes also are down slightly.
The value assigned by the B.C. Assessment Authority to many of the 82,000 properties in the Central Okanagan has dropped from last year. The market value of single-family residential homes went down slightly in most neighbourhoods. The assessments account for only part of the tax equation, which the city finalizes in the spring.
"My experience has been that when values have gone down, taxes don't usually go down. They usually remain the same, or in some cases they may go up," said Tracy Wall, deputy assessor for the Okanagan.
The total assessed value of all properties in the Central Okanagan fell slightly to $40.6 billion from $40.75 billion. The 2013 total includes $280 million for subdivisions, rezoning and new construction.
The value of most homes based on sales as of last July has remained stable, said Wall. The average detached, single-family home in Kelowna has been assessed at $492,000, down from $501,000 last year. Values also dipped for strata properties in Kelowna, and for homes in West Kelowna and Lake Country.
The one exception is Peachland, where assessments rose an average of $5,000 to $450,000. Peachland and Lumby were the only Okanagan communities to see property values rise, said Wall, whose region includes Salmon Arm and Revelstoke.
"The market was a bit stronger (in Peachland and Lumby), and sales indicated that."
Development trends are driving the Valley's housing market. More stratified condominium-style properties are being built to reflect the aging population and demand from first-time homebuyers.
"It's affordable for new people coming into the market as well," Wall said.
For most Central Okanagan homeowners, the assessments show their property values have dropped for the first time in years. The trend is another sign that B.C.'s housing market is cooling.
Some parts of the province may see a significant decrease, especially in Vancouver's west side and in Whistler, Pemberton, the Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island, the authority says.
Still, some properties have risen in value. To compensate, the government is raising the threshold for people to claim the homeowners grant. The threshold will rise by $10,000, meaning people with homes valued up to $1.29 million will qualify for the grant.
Under the increase, more than a million B.C. homeowners will be eligible for the full grant - about 95.5 per cent of all homeowners, said Finance Minister Mike de Jong.
The annual mail-out of assessment notices, used to determine local taxation levels, takes place this week. Local homeowners can expect their assessments to rise up to five per cent or decrease by as much as five per cent.
"It's a stable year, which is good to see. Most people don't want to see too great a fluctuation one way or the other," Wall said.
If you think your assessment does not reflect market value, you can appeal. Contact the Okanagan assessment office at 202-1500 Hardy St., Kelowna, before the end of January.