The assessed values of Greater Victoria homes have risen, but at a slower rate than in the past, according to new figures from BC Assessment.
Consider Saanich as a representative example. Between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018, the assessed values of single-residential homes rose by an average of five per cent for the entire municipality, with variations depending on the area. Homes within the boundaries of School District No. 61 rose four per cent to $810,000, those within the boundaries of School District No.63 six per cent to $1.01 million.
By comparison, average assessed values rose 15 per cent during the same time frame between July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017. Assessed values rose 21 per cent in the year previous.
Looking more closely at the most recent numbers, values rose the most in Colwood, where the assessed values for single-residential homes were up 10 per cent. Saanich was the lowest (School District No. 61) with just a four per cent average move. Regionally, the average increase was 8.53 per cent — down compared to previous years.
Gerry Marolla, deputy assessor for the Vancouver Island Region, said it is not clear what caused this slow-down in assessed values. However, he notes that 2016 was a phenomenal year for the local real estate market.
Central and northern Vancouver Island, meanwhile, recorded increases that ranged between 10 and 20 per cent, and between 10 and 25 per cent.
Looking at specific properties in the region, the most exclusive property in the region is James Island off the coast near Sidney, with an assessed value of $56.75 million.
Of the 25 most valuable properties on Vancouver Island, 13 lie within the municipal boundaries of Oak Bay — home to the second and third-most valuable properties on Vancouver Island.
A single-family home at 3160 Humber Road is worth $16.159 million, while an acreage at 3195 Humber Road has a value of $15.39 million.
Oak Bay is also home to the region’s most exclusive street as Beach Drive features four properties in the Top 10, ranging in value from $12.11 million (3155 Beach Drive) to $10.91 (3355 Beach Drive). In fact, three of those four properties all lie within the 3100 block of Beach Drive.
The most exclusive property in the City of Victoria is Unit 2101 at 83 Saghalie Road with a value of $8.79 million, good enough for 16th spot on Vancouver Island.
The most exclusive property in the District of Saanich is 2670 Queenswood Drive with a value of $8.63 million, good enough for 18th spot on Vancouver Island.Queenswood Drive is also home to the 19th most valuable property at 2524 QueenswoodDrive ($8.46 million), 20th most valuable property at 2524 Queenswood Drive ($8.28 million), and the 25th most valuable at 2690 Queenswood Drive ($8.08) million.
These figures, which are available through bcassessment.ca, are important for three reasons. First, they capture the historical values of homes. Second, municipalities use them to calculate property taxes rates with the proviso that higher assessed values do not necessarily point towards higher property tax rates.
Valla Tinney, Saanich’s director of finance, said in the past that the average increase in property taxes cannot be determined until the budget deliberation process is complete in early May.
In any case, assessment fluctuations do not directly impact property tax revenue, said Tinney.
“The amount of property tax revenue the municipality collects in the year is determined by council in setting the annual budget,” she said. “The assessment changes only impact each property owner’s share of the taxes.”
Finally, they satisfy a voyeuristic instinct by giving residents a chance to look up the value of their neighbours’ homes. It might not be honourable, but at least honest.