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Property assessments down for Whistler, little change for Pemberton

One single-family dwelling in Whistler Cay Heights falls from $2,984,000 to $2,040,000

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The B.C. Assessment Authority released its annual assessment rolls on Tuesday, 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 those values into consideration when determining what share of the municipal budget that home and business owners are expected to pay through property taxes.

In that way property taxes are relative - if your assessment went up then you might be expected to pay slightly more than the owner of another property owner where the 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 municipal budget is up four per cent this year, on top of more than 20 per cent in increases over the previous 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.

"The exact figure... shows Whistler going down 2.06 per cent for residential and businesses and other classes down 5.36 per cent," said Grant.

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

Declines in value were fairly consistent, although the assessment did point to one extreme example where 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.

In response to a request from Pique , Lisa Landry, the general manager of economic viability for Whistler, confirmed that the Whistler Cay home is an extreme example - her own review of properties in the $2.7 million to $2.8 million range suggest that the average drop in value was closer to 3.6 per cent.

That's important because a large drop in value for higher value properties would result in higher taxes for properties that saw less of a decline.

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