It was a slow news week last week. Combine that with the media’s ravenous appetite for real estate gossip, and the increase on your 2016 Property Assessment is once again an exciting topic.

Yes, there have been continued increases in prices in the Lower Mainland–particularly the North Shore–month over month for many years running, but this is all readily available public information, so not really a surprise that 2016 Assessments are considerably higher than they were in 2015.

The thing is, Property Assessments do NOT necessarily equal market value, which is good news for homeowners, because if 2016 Taxes were actually based on end of year 2015 values, they’d be considerably higher

Just because your Assessment went up, doesn’t mean your taxes will increase by the same amount (or even at all). If your taxes increase, besides a change in assessed value, there could be changes in the City’s Tax rate, or in other tax authorities’ tax rate, so it’s not all about the real estate.

The municipal portion of the property tax bill (property tax + utilities) represents roughly 65% of your entire tax bill in the City if North Vancouver. Additional property tax charges are levied by Metro Vancouver regional district, TransLink, the Province of BC (school taxes), the BC Assessment Authority and others. Year-over-year changes in these charges may vary significantly from the change in the municipal property tax.

As a brilliant example, The City of Richmond (different municipality, but the concept is the same) was fed up with the confusion, and has a terrific YouTube video on how Property Taxes are calculated, and you can view it here:

Here are the price increases of a Benchmark North Vancouver home in the Assessment Period (you may find similar increases over last year on your Assessment Notice):

July 2014 – July 2015          Dec 2014 – Dec 2015

(assessment period)            (Year over year data)

Detached            16.5% ↑                                + 26.6% ↑

Attached               3% ↑                                   + 16.6% ↑

Apartments           2% ↑                                   +  9.9%  ↑

For those of you living in a condo in Lower Lonsdale, next time you are at Starbucks and run into someone from the Grand Boulevard neighborhood, you should maybe buy their coffee and say, “thank you”.  Why?  Because they are picking up a much heftier share of the municipal tax bill for the City than you are, via their property taxes, given market conditions (greater increases in the detached realm) and the tax assessment process (as depicted in the video).

Off the cuff, we can’t recall a year when an individual tax bill has decreased, regardless of what happens to property values. However, at some point economies of scale must come into play. Increased tax base, more people, higher property values. We look forward to the year when the Municipalities do a better job with what they’ve got and are able to deliver some good news in the mail the first week in January.

Here is a service that you may find helpful–available each New Year until March, where you can view details on a single property, compare neighbouring properties, and compare sales information.

We are happy to help you with more stats – we have LOADS of them, for every neighborhood.  Click here to take a peek.


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