Condos, townhouses drive up Fraser Valley property values

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Most homeowners in the Lower Mainland can once again expect their property assessments to go up and for the first time in at least a decade, condo values have jumped as much as 40 per cent in some areas.

Residential strata units in urban areas vary between a five per cent decrease and 20 per cent increase compared to 2017 numbers, while properties in urban areas increased by five per cent to 25 per cent. The total value of all Greater Vancouver properties is up 9.9% year-over-year, with a total assessed value of $907.1 billion, compared with $825.2 billion last year.

BC Assessment's website at bcassessment.ca includes more details about the 2018 assessments, property information and trends such as lists of 2018's top-valued residential properties across the province.

Annually, BC Assessment grades the value of homes by analyzing a number of factors including current sale prices in the neighbourhood, property size, age, quality, condition, view and location.

Ireland thinks the high demand for condos is simply due to the fact that they are less expensive than single-family homes.

On average, single-family homes across the island were up 10 to 25 per cent, while condo and townhouse strata values saw the greatest growth of up to 35 per cent in some cities, according to data provided by BC Assessment. In the Fraser Valley, the increases ranged from 10 to 40 per cent.

This home type saw, on average, a 30% jump in assessed value, from $673,000 previous year to $877,000.

Overall, the Okanagan's total assessments increased from $98 billion in 2017 to $119 billion this year, according to B.C. Assessment.

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Realtor Aaron Jasper said the increases show demand for condos and townhouses clearly outstripping demand for detached properties, a market where many are already priced out.

Bobby Ross, a real estate agent with Pemberton Holmes, agrees the assessment notices have little impact on the real estate market.

In the City of Prince George, BC Assessment calculated a 5.42 per cent value increase in residential properties, 2.49 per cent increase in light industrial properties and a 3.59 per cent increase in business and other properties between the 2017 and 2018 assessments.

Assessments for the average single-family home in Fort St. John dropped from $387,000 to $369,000 year-over year, or a decline of 4.6 per cent.

Residents who disagree with their assessment are encouraged to contact BC Assessment and if they remain dissatisfied with the result, they can file an appeal by January 31 for an independent review.

The day after the assessments were released, the provincial government raised the homeowner grant to $1.65 million from $1.6 million. The physical condition is based on how the property was on October 31, 2017.

The highest average single-family assessment in Greater Victoria was in Oak Bay, at $1.156 million, up from $1.036 million a year ago.

BC Assessment says property assessments are now in the mail.

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