Most tech-savvy homeowners across BC have likely looked up their property’s assessed value on the BC Assessment site by now, instead of waiting for their notice to arrive in the mail.

This is a great time for Realtors to follow-up with clients to find out if they have questions or concerns about the information they received.

“Despite COVID-19, the Lower Mainland residential real estate market has been resilient,” says BC Assessment Deputy Assessor Bryan Murao. “For the most part, homeowners can expect relatively moderate increases in value. This incredible strength is a stark contrast to last spring when the market came to a temporary standstill whereas the remainder of the year had a very steady and rapid recovery.”

No doubt some of your clients are unsure about how to react to the general increase in assessed property values as of July 1, 2020. For the most part, they may be feeling a sense of relief that their home either held its value from the previous year or increased in value even during a global pandemic. Some may even be thinking, “Hey, it’s a great time to sell!”

Understandably, others may be anxious about whether their property taxes will be going up as a result and wondering whether they will be able to afford to cover an increase.

Owners of single family detached homes across our Board area saw their assessed values increase anywhere from four to eight per cent. Condo owners in our region in general saw a rise in value of one to four per cent except in White Rock, where assessed values decreased by two per cent.

As you know, property tax bills have more to do with each individual municipality’s budget rather than how much a home’s value has gone up or down, but your client may not be aware of that.

For example, the City of Surrey’s move before the holidays to approve a property tax increase of 2.9 per cent for residents and businesses and increase the annual flat rate parcel tax of $100 to $300, will likely increase Surrey property tax bills. Surrey property owners are charged the flat rate parcel tax on top of their regular property tax.

Here are some BC Assessment resources that can help you assist your clients:

  • Search for specific property assessment information.
  • Video on how BC Assessment assesses property values.
  • Media release for the Lower Mainland region.
  • Interactive maps on market movement for different property classes, market trends and the top 500 valued residential properties.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (includes several videos you can share on social media) about assessments and complaints (appeals).

How to reach BC Assessment:

Due to concerns related to COVID-19, BC Assessment says their staff will not be offering in-person customer service at this time. However, they would be happy to help you or your clients over the phone or online during their regular office hours Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

  • Phone: 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322)
  • Online form: click here

The Home Owner Grant application process is changing in 2021:

Similar to past years, the provincial government’s Home Owner Grant program can help to reduce the amount of property tax British Columbians pay on their principal residence.

However, please advise clients that starting this year the process to apply for the assistance will be different. The program details and eligibility requirements will not change.

What’s new for 2021:

Instead of applying through a municipality, this year residents will need to apply to the provincial government directly through a new online system the government says will be easy to use and will process applications faster.

The best time to apply:

The best time to apply will be after the property tax notice has arrived in the mail and before the property tax due date. No further details have been posted on the Home Owner Grant webpage at this time.

Source: FVREB Communications