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Assessments down for Whistler, little change for Pemberton

Property values down two to five per cent in Whistler



The B.C. Assessment Authority released its annual assessment rolls today, confirming that the overall value of real estate in Whistler went down in 2010.

"Most homeowners in Whistler will see decreases in the minus two per cent to minus five per cent range," said Jason Grant, the area assessor for the Vancouver Sea to Sky Region.

" In addition, Pemberton property owners can expect assessments similar to the 2010 roll with changes in minus five per cent to plus five per cent range."

The assessments are an estimate of a property's market value as of July 1, 2010, and are based on home sale prices and listings, values from the previous year, and characteristics such as the age of the home, its location, quality, view and size. The municipality takes that information into consideration when determining how much property tax home and business owners are expected to pay in order to meet their budget.

As a result, property taxes are relative - if your assessment went up then you might be expected to pay slightly more than another property owner whose assessment decreased. If all homes decreased by the same rate then there would be no difference in the share of the budget that property owners are expected to pay. In Whistler, the size of that budget has increased four per cent this year, on top of more than 20 per cent in increases over the past four years.

The total value of Whistler's real estate is estimated at $10,849 billion, down from $11.02 billion on July 1, 2009.

Grant said that reduction reflects changing market values for several properties, but also includes $231 million in subdivisions, rezoning and new construction. Without those new properties, the assessment would have decreased even further.

In Whistler, some of the most expensive homes saw the largest declines. For example, a Whistler Cay Heights single-family dwelling valued at $2,984,000 on July 1, 2009 was valued at $2,042,000 a year later. A three-bedroom townhouse on the Blackcomb Benchlands that was valued at $2,059,000 has been re-valued at $1,940,000.

By comparison, a Creekside single-family dwelling valued at $1,017,000 on July 1, 2009 was valued at $1,010,000 a year later. A single family dwelling in White Gold decreased from $983,000 to $945,000, a single family dwelling in Alpine Meadows decreased $964,000 to $940,000, a two-bedroom apartment in Whistler Village decreased from $610,000 to $576,000, a one-bedroom in Whistler Village decreased from $522,800 to $498,000.

None of the sample properties listed in the assessment showed an increase.

The Village of Pemberton saw its assessment roll decrease from $493 million to $491 million, or less than half a percentage point.

A Pemberton single-family dwelling increased in value from $522,000 to $550,000, while there was no change in value for a three-bedroom townhouse priced at $337,000.

Property owners should receive their assessments this week. If they feel their assessment is incorrect then they can appeal the assessment until Jan. 31 for an independent review, and can expect a ruling by March.

In Squamish, average property values increased two per cent.

On the Sunshine Coast, assessments are down between five and 10 per cent.

Province-wide, many areas saw increases in the 2011 assessment rolls. The city of Vancouver, for example, saw the market value of homes increase by roughly 12 per cent. In Greater Victoria, assessments are up, on average, one or two per cent.

For all of B.C., combined assessments broke the $1 trillion mark for the first time based on the value of 1.9 million properties. That's up from $969 billion the previous year.