Kelowna home owners are worth nearly 10 per cent more this year—on paper, anyway.
Property assessments that reflect the market value for the more than 222,000 homes and businesses throughout the Okanagan as of July 1, 2015 will deliver the specifics this week
“The majority of residential home owners within the region can expect a modest increase in value, compared to last year’s assessment,” said Deputy Assessor Tracy Wall.
B.C. Assessment says the average single-family home in Kelowna went up 9.63 per cent to $567,600, from $ 517,700. Lake Country saw growth of 9.16 per cent with an average home value of $557,400, from $ 510,600.
The average value for a West Kelowna home is $538,100 for 2016, up 7.25 per cent, while an average home in Peachland is valued at $480,500, up 5.79 per cent from last year.
B.C. Assessment breaks out strata title properties in the larger communities and valuations in Kelowna have also increased in 2016, up 7.54 per cent putting the value of the average strata property at $232,200.
Upward pressure on prices has largely to do with sales information, as the Okanagan had a strong year in real estate. A total of almost $1.7 billion of the region’s updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions and rezoning of properties.
Overall, the Okanagan’s total assessments increased from $88 billion in 2015 to $94 billion this year.
While some may revel in higher home values, it does have an impact on taxation. For those who may struggle with it, the province is extending its homeowner grant program.
British Columbians who own homes valued up to $1.2 million may be eligible to receive a full home owner grant this year, while a partial grant may be available if the home is valued above this threshold.
The home owner grant provides modest property tax relief to those who need it most. Last year, this program returned nearly $800 million to B.C. residents. For 2016, more than 91per cent of homes are below the threshold.
BC Assessment estimates the values of all homes based on their market value on July 1 each year. For homes valued below the threshold, the basic grant can reduce residential property taxes on an owner’s principal residence by up to $570.
An additional grant up to $275 is available for homeowners who are aged 65 or over, who qualify under the persons with disabilities category, or who are eligible to receive certain war-veteran allowances. The northern and rural home owner benefit provides an additional $200 in property tax relief to households outside the
Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Capital Regional Districts.
Low-income homeowners who would have received the additional home owner grant except for the high value of their home can apply for a low-income grant supplement.
Homeowners who face difficulty keeping up with rising property assessments in B.C. may also be eligible to defer all or a portion of their property taxes. The property tax deferment program provides low-interest loans that allow eligible homeowners to defer payment of annual property taxes until their home is sold or becomes part of an
estate. This program is available to owners who are 55 or older, surviving spouses of any age, and persons with disabilities. Families who are financially supporting children may also qualify.
For more information on assessments, go to the newly-enhanced website at bcassessment.ca that includes more details about 2016 assessments, property information and trends such as lists of 2016’s top most valuable residential properties across the province. The website also provides self-service access to the free online e-valueBC service that allows anyone to search, check and compare 2016 property assessments anywhere in the province.
“Property owners can find a lot of information on our website including answers to many assessment-related questions, but those who feel that their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2015 or see incorrect information on their notice, should contact BC Assessment as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January,” said Wall.
“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 Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, and typically meet between Feb.1 and March 15 to hear formal complaints.
For the Okanagan, BC Assessment’s local office is located at:
300-1631 Dickson Ave Kelowna, B.C. V1Y 0B5
During the month of January, office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. Property owners can contact BC Assessment toll-free at 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825- 8322) or online at bcasssessment.ca