Property values rose very modest in Houston

Property values rose a very modest one per cent on average in Houston and area but fell one per cent in Burns Lake and area as of July 1, 2019, the BC Assessment Authority has determined.

Property owners began receiving their individual assessments last week, information from which local governments will now take and use to set property tax rates for the coming year.

Each year the assessment authority uses July 1 as its snapshot date to determine market value for all properties and Oct. 31 as the date to determine physical condition of a property.

From a value of $151,000 as of July 1, 2018, the assessment authority now says a typical single-family Houston home value is $152,000 as of July 1, 2019.

But in Burns Lake, the value dropped from $149,000 to $148,000 for the same time period.

And in Granisle, assessments rose 11 per cent — from $55,000 to $$61,000.

In terms of an increase by percentage, Granisle ranked sixth in the north, tied with Smithers, out of 34 communities.

By dollar amounts, the 11 per cent jump in Smithers works out to an increase from $286,000 in 2018 to $316,000 in 2019.

Highest percentage increases in the north were in Kitimat at 41 per cent and in Terrace at 20 per cent, a reflection of market value driven by LNG Canada’s $40 billion liquefied natural gas plant now under construction in Kitimat.

A typical single family Kitimat home was valued at $235,000 in 2018 and, as of 2019, was valued at $332,000. In Terrace, the dollar value rose from $312,000 in 2018 to $373,000 in 2019.

Assessments also rose dramatically in Queen Charlotte on Haida Gwaii where the percentage jump from 2018 to 2019 came in at 31 per cent, from $167,000 to $219,000.

Across the north, total assessments increased from $65.4 billion to more than $69.4 billion.

Significant changes in an individual property’s assessed value do not necessarily mean taxes will also increase.

The important factor is where the assessment for an individual property rests within the average change of that property’s class within the local goverment or taxing authority.

If the new assessment is lower than the average, taxes might decrease. If the asssessment is higher, taxes might then increase.

Still, both Houston and Burns Lake local governments are planning for an overall property tax increase based on their own financial planning and needs.

In Houston, the increase is set at 2.7 per cent, amounting to $111,957, for a 2020 base budget of $4,258,519. This does not include service fees for water, sewer and other infrastructure.

Burns Lake taxpayers can anticipate an increase of two per cent which works out to $14 per $100,000 of residential assessment.

More information on assessments is available through the B.C. Assessment Authority’s website. Property owners can find their own individual information and survey that of properties in their neighbourhoods and areas.

There is also general assessment information background and how to file an appeal.

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