Three local communities had some of the highest increases in property values in the province last year.
BC Assessment has released its annual list of assessed property values as of July 2020. That assessment is used to help determine the amount of taxes a homeowner will pay in 2021.
Most regions saw up to a 10% increase in property assessments last year, the government department says. However, Slocan, Nakusp and Kaslo all saw higher-than-average property value increases in 2020, and several other West Kootenay communities weren’t far behind.
The Village of Slocan saw one of the highest increases in the province, at 19%, with the value of the average home rising from $165,000 to $196,000. Nakusp saw a 16% increase, from $237,000 to $275,000, while Kaslo saw a 12% increase, from $269,000 to $299,000
"The majority of Kootenay Columbia homeowners can expect a moderate increase in their 2021 assessments compared to last year," says Deputy Assessor Sharlynn Hill. "Some of the smaller communities have experienced higher demand than previous years and that is reflected in this year's assessments."
Silverton and New Denver also saw increases, 10% and 9% respectively.
For comparison, the City of Nelson saw a 7% increase, with the average price of a home there assessed at $504,000.
A higher assessment doesn’t automatically mean higher taxes for the homeowner. That will depend on the tax rates set by local governments later this year, and how an individual’s property increase compares to the average. If your assessed value stayed the same, and your local government doesn’t increase taxes, a homeowner will see no change.
"It is important to understand that increases in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding increase in property taxes," explains Hill. "As noted on your Assessment Notice, how your assessment changes relative to the average change in your community is what may affect your property taxes."
BC Assessment collects, monitors and analyzes property data throughout the year. Earlier this month, it mailed out assessments to 150,000 properties throughout the Kootenay Columbia region.
Overall, Kootenay Columbia's total assessments increased from about $46.6 billion in 2020 to almost $49.8 billion this year. A total of about $488 million of the region's updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions and rezoning of properties.
Homeowners who don’t agree with their assessment have a window of opportunity to challenge the BC Assessment finding.
"Property owners… who feel that their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2020 or see incorrect information on their notice, should contact BC Assessment as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January," says Hill.
"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 February 1, for an independent review by a Property Assessment Review Panel.”
The Property Assessment Review Panels, independent of BC Assessment, are appointed annually by the provincial government, and typically meet between February 1 and March 15 to hear formal complaints.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice