Single family residential values have increased slightly in Houston. (File Photo)

Single family residential values have increased slightly in Houston. (File Photo)

Houston property assessments nudge up

District now working on 2019 spending plans

The value of single family homes in Houston rose by two per cent from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018, indicates information released this month by the BC Assessment Authority.

In dollar terms, the value was $147,700 in 2017, increasing to $150,600 last year.

The annual July 1 ‘snap shot’ by the assessment authority is based on market activity and sales and the assessments are used by local governments to determine taxation levels the following year.

Exactly how the assessments play out when it comes to 2019 District of Houston property tax bills has yet to be determined because council has yet to finalize its spending plans for this year and subsequent revenue requirements.

The district hosted one public meeting Dec. 4 to gain opinions from local residents about municipal priorities which could affect spending and will hold another one Feb. 13.

These items surfaced at the Dec. 4 meeting from members of the public:

– By Mac Boat Launch

– Mall facade/ business facades

– Benson Avenue crossing upgrade

– 14th Street Bridge

– Access to hauled water for rural residences

– Fixing and maintaining existing infrastructure.

Aside from the impact assessment values can have on a residence’s tax bill, the district may also increase taxes.

In addition to collecting its own taxes, the district also collects taxes on behalf of the Bulkley-Nechako regional district, the local school district, the regional hospital district, the Municipal Finance Authority and the B.C. Assessment Authority.

Those rates and amounts are determined by those bodies and not by the district.

Across the north, the residential property with the highest value was $2.892 million and is located at Moberly Lake in the Dawson Creek area.

The value of Burns Lake single-family residential properties rose by 13 per cent, from $131,600 to $148,900 on July 1, the report stated.

All neighbouring communities including Fort St. James, Fraser Lake, Smithers and Vanderhoof saw increases in value.

The exception is Granisle which registered 0 per cent growth, a fall compared to last year when it rose in value by 44.9 per cent.

The municipality with the largest percentage increase in the north was Kitimat, fueled by the LNG Canada gas liquefaction project.

There, values climbed by 20 per cent with a single family residential home valued at $235,300 on July 1, 2018 compared to $195,700 on July 1, 2017.

That’s in contrast to a 16 per cent decline in 2017 when compared to 20016.

Elsewhere in northern B.C., large fluctuations were noted in Kitimat where values rose by 20 per cent, and Northern Rockies Regional Municipality which went down by 23 per cent.

The rise in Burns Lake’s assessment shows how little last summer’s wildfires affected many properties’ values in the area.

“It’s the same philosophy as other properties when it comes to natural disasters. It depends on what the market will pay for those properties,” BC Assessment Authority deputy assessor Jarret Krantz said.

“Those fires affected some properties and not others. For those specific properties damaged by fire they’ll be looked at differently [by appraisers] than the general market,” he said.

If a property has been renovated then its value might increase by up to 50 per cent, Krantz explained.

“Going the other way, if a property has some damage then its value might decline, like if the house is burned down.”

Northern B.C.’s total assessments rose from around $61.5 billion in 2018 to $65.7 billion this year.

About $913 million of the assessments comes from new construction, subdivisions and rezoning of properties.

Krantz urged residents to use the BC Assessment website to check on values and other property activity in the community, and to contact the organization if there any concerns.

Go to https://www.bcassessment.ca/ or BC Assessment toll free at 1-866-825-8322.

(with files from Blair McBride)