In the next few days more than 245,000 property owners in Northern BC will receive their 2016 housing assessment. The majority of assessments in the region reflect a slight increase compared to the year prior.
The Northern region for BC Assessment includes 70 per cent of the province. Growth in the region ranges from zero to ten per cent.
BC Assessment’s David Keough says here in Prince George the value of homes has increased six per cent compared to last year.
“For a homeowner it’s their market value based on the sales that have occurred we have seen an increase, on average, or six per cent. What we look at throughout the year is the sales that have occurred and that’s showing them what the market value for their home is as of July 1st 2015.”
There were 44 housing starts in November of 2015, compared to 28 in November of 2014. This number alone shows there is growth in the city.
City Councillor says this six per cent increase is positive.
“For us it’s a good signal that we’re growing, that there’s value, that the economy’s doing well.”
Overall, the Northern BC region’s total assessments increased from $57.3 billion in 2015 to $59.5 billion this year. A total of almost $1.4 billion of the region’s updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions, and rezoning of properties.
Measured annually on July 1st, the average home in Prince George has increased from $254,000 in 2014 to 268,000 2015. Remax Realtor Melanie Lupul says an increase in property value usually means one thing for homeowners.
“For homeowners it means their taxes are probably going up. It doesn’t mean there’s a lot of difference in the value of their home.”
Raising property taxes is exactly what the city intends to do. Councillor Frizzell says the exact amount will reflect how much your property value has increased.
“The total amount we need to raise is 3 per cent more. So we tried to aim at having residential taxes going up about three per cent.”
Lupul says an increase won’t mean a lot to someone looking to sell their home in 2016, but it may impact a buyer.
“If you’re a buyer and the assessments are going up it means the taxes are going to be a bit higher on the home that you’re purchasing.”
Experts say the change in value means the housing market in Prince George is healthy. In comparison with the rest of the region Lupul says Prince George is right in the middle, the market reflecting moderate growth.
“It’s steady with a lot of new growth. We do have a good market, it’s been good throughout the year, it’s looking busy throughout the new year.”
If a homeowner has an issue with their assessment a notice of complaint must be submitted by February 1st.