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Whistler property values continue to climb

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This year's property assessments are in and Whistler's numbers are up again.

More than 13,000 assessment notices have been mailed to Whistler property owners who have discovered that once again their property has gone up in value. This year the increases are an average of 9-20 per cent.

"Whistler has certainly outdistanced any other market in B.C. but it did that the year before too," said Calvin Smyth, the area assessor with B.C. Assessment.

This year's assessment roll, the total value of all the properties in Whistler, jumped from $5.6 billion to $6.1 billion, an increase of $500 million. Last year the total property values increased by $1 billion.

"The last three years have shown increases that have been higher than the rest of the province," said Smyth. "Whistler is the number one area as far as real estate prices go."

Some of the higher end properties in Horstman Estates, Blueberry Hill and Nicklaus North had property increases up to 30 per cent in the first half of the assessment year but those prices took a slight dip in February.

"It seems to have coincided with the stock market slump," said Smyth.

Homes in Alpine Meadows increased around 11 per cent.

"Every area experienced some kind of an increase," he said.

The B.C. Assessment office takes the market value of the property as of July 1, 2001 and properties are taxed based on that figure.

The value is based on market sales that have occurred from July 1, 2000 to July 1, 2001.

According to figures from B.C. Assessment, a single family home in Alpine Meadows which was valued at $527,000 in the summer of 2000, would have sold for $579,000 in the summer of 2001 – an increase of $52,000. Likewise, a single family home in Emerald Estates, valued at $410,000 in the summer of 2000, would have sold for $479,000 in the summer of 2001– an increase of $69,000.

Chris Wetaski, the president of the Association of Whistler Realtors, said the figures of single family homes in the property assessments tend to be a little lower than market value, even taking into account the fact that the figures are six months old.

"We currently don't have any homes in Whistler listed under $500,000. The cheapest house in Alpine is $650,000 and the cheapest home listed in Emerald in $750,000."

But that may be because there are no homes under the half a million-dollar mark listed at the moment, said Ted Howell, an area appraiser with B.C. Assessment.

"What's listed does not actually represent the assessment roll," he said.

He also said there is a wide range of housing in Emerald and Alpine. The homes in those areas might range from an A-frame house that was built in the ’70s to a huge log cabin on a view lot.

"It's difficult to reflect what everyone has there," he said. "Whistler has the greatest range of housing stock because the land has increased so much."

In addition to single family homes increasing in value, condominium prices have also gone up.

For example, a condominium in the Blackcomb Benchlands that sold for $427,000 in the summer of 2000 would have sold for $503,000 in the summer of 2001.

"Whistler has been an extremely good market over the past number of years," said Smyth. "It's the combination of the proximity to Vancouver, its appeal to the international market and it's the destination spot to go to in B.C."

The increasing value of Whistler homes is good news for those homeowners who are looking to sell their property in the near future.

"The (housing) market did not go down in the fall. It is quite likely that if things continue then the assessment will go up again next July," said Wetaski.

Smyth encourages people to contact B.C. Assessment if they feel that their property assessment does not accurately reflect their property value as of July 1, 2001.

The municipal hall and the library have property assessments available by address, which will allow people to compare their property assessment to similar properties in their neighbourhood.

If any property owner hasn’t received their 2002 assessment notice by Jan. 15, they are advised to contact their local assessment office.

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