Assessments in Campbell River are up about 15 per cent and reflective of real estate market activity. File photo/Black Press

Campbell River home assessments up about 15 per cent in 2018

Increase is part of a trend of higher increases moving up Vancouver Island

Single-family homes in Campbell River were worth just over 15 per cent more in 2018 than in the previous year, according to the BC Assessment Authority.

BC Assessment released its annual assessments for property owners in the province at the beginning of January.

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For the Campbell River area, the average home saw a jump in assessed value of 16 per cent in the city and 15 per cent in the rural area around Campbell River. In the city, the average value went from $345,000 up to $401,000, while in the rural area the amount went from $321,000 up to $370,000. Homes in areas like Quadra Island and Cortes Island are also considered as Campbell River’s rural area.

“The market has, sort of, moved up island a bit,” says Gerry Marolla, the deputy assessor for BC Assessment’s Vancouver Island region.

For those living in Campbell River strata homes, including townhouses and condominiums, the increase was 23 per cent, which was one of the largest jumps on Vancouver Island, trailing only Cumberland at 27 per cent on a list of urban areas. A strata unit in Campbell River went from $195,200 in 2017 to $240,300 last year.

The jump is part of a trend in 2018 that saw assessment increases growing move farther up Vancouver Island. Many of the communities on the south part of the Island such as the greater Victoria area saw hikes in the single-digit range for single-family homes this last year, while almost urban areas in the central and north part of the Island saw double-digit gains.

“We’re not seeing those increases down here,” Marolla said. “We’re still seeing significant increases from a dollar perspective, but on a percentage basis, they’re not as much.”

Marolla also noted that in smaller communities, the percentages can be affected by a small increase or decrease in sales. For example, in Sayward, the increase in assessed value shot up from $141,650 up to $205,100, or a hike of 44 per cent. Marolla though says that reflects sales of eight homes in the community.

“It’s kind of an anomaly,” he added. “You’ve got to put it in perspective.”

The average increase for the province was 7.45 per cent.

“As property owners, we can take some comfort in knowing that our values are still increasing,” he added.

Marolla outlined how conditions have changed over the last decade or so on Vancouver Island. After a decline from the 2008 crash, the market picked up for a few years, fell off but increased slightly around 2015, then shot up the following year.

“The 2016 market just took off like a rocket,” he said.

Local governments use the assessments, along with their own mill rates, to determine taxation for the year, so if a property’s assessment increases at the same level as the average, its taxes do not automatically go up by that percentage. In other words, the assessments are only one factor in the equation.

In Campbell River, the city through its financial plan aims to increase taxes by about 2 to 3.5 per cent a year to adjust for inflation and contract increases, meaning a property with an average assessment increase would see its taxes go up in the range of 2 to 3.5 per cent.

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To determine the values of properties, BC Assessment looks at the mid-year real estate market value.

“We’re reflecting the market conditions as of July 1,” Marolla said.

The assessment authority can also still take into account improvements to properties up to the end of October.

“It’s not static, it’s constantly being updated,” says Marolla.

If property owners have questions about their assessments, they are encouraged to look for more information at the BC Assessment website. They can also contact BC Assessment and appeal an assessment if they feel it is not an accurate reflection of property value. The deadline for appeals in Jan. 31.