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Resident appeals massive increase in assessment value of her dwelling

BC Assessment Authority says value has jumped by 800 per cent
Angelique Houlihan is appealing a 800 per cent increase in the assessment of her dwelling.

The owner of a manufactured home is appealing her 2021 property assessment, saying the increase of nearly 800 per cent from last year can’t be correct.

Angelique Houlihan received a heads up letter from the BC Assessment Authority last month, warning her of the impending jump from an assessed value of $6,500 for her manufactured home in the Houston Trailer Park to $58,400.

That increasing, amounting to a hike of 752 per cent, was confirmed last week as the authority released valuations for this year that will now be used by local governments in setting property tax rates.

And that’s what has Houlihan worried — the prospect of a large tax increase from the District of Houston because of the dramatic increase in her assessed value.

“This just can’t be right,” said Houlihan last week after filing a request for a review.

Houlihan bought the dwelling seven years ago for $3,000, saying it was in very bad shape.

“My home of 17 years had burned down and I needed a place to live,” she said of the purchase.

She then put approximately $30,000 and material and labour into making it habitable.

The manufactured home portion of the dwelling is 320 square feet with three additions increasing the living space to approximately 900 square feet, all contained under one common roof.

Houlihan is not opposed to the prospect of a valuation increase — two years ago she asked the assessment authority to increase the valuation to $7,500, a figure she described as fair market value.

That increase was not granted but from a figure of $2,600 in 2018, the valuation did increase to $7,000 in 2019 before dropping by 7 per cent to last year’s $6,500.

Since then she has added windows and improved the dwelling’s electrical service.

“But this, I just don’t understand,” she added of the massive jump in assessed value.

In her appeal notice sent to the assessment authority, Houlihan did agree that the area has seen an economic upswing, “but in comparison to my neighbours, the drastic increase to my homes’s value is not warranted,” she said.

The BC Assessment Authority website does allow people to explore the values of properties adjacent to their own and, in relation to Houlihan’s value, results are mixed within the Houston Trailer Park.

Two nearby manufactured homes also registered massive valuation increases — one from $1,300 to $11,300 and another from $2,400 to $16,900. But another property dropped in value, from $16,700 in 2020 to $12,700 now.

The assessment authority uses sales data based on an established snapshot date of July 1 each year to help establish valuations. It will also do physical assessments in October. Within the Houston Trailer Park, recent sale prices were generally less than assessed values. One property sold last November for $5,000 and had an assessed value of $10,800 while another property assessed at $11,400 sold for $8,000 in October. One property did sell for $16,200 last year, a figure higher than its assessed value of $12,700.

Information provided by the BC Assessment Authority indicates that a significant change in assessed value by itself does not mean there’ll be a significant change in property taxes.

Instead, the valuation has to be considered based on changes within the classification of a property.

It means that if a valuation increased by less than the average of the property’s classification, a decrease in property tax is likely. But if a property increases more than the average, an increase is likely.

Additional information supplied by the assessment authority indicates there are 178 manufactured homes situated within a manufactured home park within the District of Houston. Those dwellings have an average value of $29,995 for 2021, a drop of 3 per cent from the 2020 average value of $30,949. But half of those dwellings are valued at $17,924 or more this year which represents a drop of 17 per cent from the $21,600 value of 2020.

About the Author: Rod Link

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