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Property values drop slightly

Whistler, Pemberton anomalies in general upward trend across province

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By Alison Taylor

Real estate values may be soaring across the province but Whistler and Pemberton properties dipped again in assessed value this year.

However, area Assessor Jason Grant said the decrease is just a nominal percentage of the overall values.

“It’s been stable to slightly trending downwards for three years in a row now,” he said after the release of the 2007 assessment notices.

Local real estate specialists agree for the most part but caution the assessment does not take into account activity in the last six months of 2006 as assessments are the estimate of a property’s market value as of July 1, 2006.

“It’s a solid, steady, predictable, sustainable marketplace year to year,” said Whistler Real Estate owner Pat Kelly. “No particular surprises, certainly no big price gains and no big price drops.”

Mike Wintemute of Remax Sea to Sky Real Estate said a slight decrease more accurately reflects Pemberton than the resort market.

“With respect to Whistler I don’t believe that the overall reduction reflects Whistler,” he said. “I think there are some instances where properties sell for a little less than maybe what they thought they’d sell for, of course there are some that sell for more as well.”

The slight dip in the lower end of the market, those properties valued at less than $1 million, he said may be because of the conditions inside the buildings. B.C. Assessment bases its values on comparable property sales and not the condition of each property.

“Probably if you really could get inside them and compare them, it may be justified (having a lower sale price),” said Wintemute.

Both realtors said condo sales have dipped. Interest has remained, however, in the higher end market and the family oriented market.

Figures released by B.C. Assessment show the slight trend downward in assessed values.

For example a single family home in Creekside was assessed at $882,500 this year, compared to $921,000 last year.

Likewise, a single family home in Alpine was assessed at $983,000, compared to just over $1 million in last year’s assessment.

The drop was also seen in village condos. A two-bedroom apartment in the village was assessed at $595,000 this year, compared to $620,000 last year.

Grant could not generalize about commercial properties in the resort because there are so many variables in the different commercial types.

With the market flat for the past three to four years, Wintemute and Kelly said there could be some shifts in the years to come.

“Certainly the first half of the year (2006) was not as optimistic as the second half of the year,” said Kelly.

“From a sales point of view it got busier (in the second half) and when you have an increase in volume you tend to get an increase in price.

“If the trend continues through until July of this year you might see those values recover.”

Meanwhile assessed values in the province have continued to climb. Overall assessments were up across B.C. 23 per cent.

In Squamish the assessed values increased in the range of five to 10 per cent for single family homes and condos.

Property owners will receive their 2007 assessment notice in the coming days.

If property owners do not feel their assessment is accurate, they should contact the B.C. Assessment office as soon as possible in January. For more information go to www.bcassessment.ca .

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