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Whistler property values drop for third year

BC Assessment released its annual property values for region



The downward trend in property assessment values in Whistler continues, with overall properties' values for 2013 being assessed at almost half a billion dollars less than a year ago.

BC Assessment mailed its annual assessment notices to property owners on Jan. 2, and the overall value of residential and commercial inventory in Whistler fell from a 2012 Assessment Roll value of $10.08 billion to 2013's Assessment Roll value of $9.59 billion, an overall decrease of $490 million or 4.86 per cent.

This compares with total value of property in the resort being pegged at $10.7 billion in 2011, a decline of roughly seven per cent or $700 million for that year.

Property values for 2013 were also assessed as lower in Pemberton, with an overall drop in property values of 2.9 per cent, from $497 million in 2012 to $483.5 million in 2013.

Squamish bucked the trend in the Sea to Sky Region, with a slight increase in overall assessed values of 0.916 per cent. This meant an overall property assessment shift up from $3.818 billion in 2012 to $3.854 billion in 2013.

"That fits in with the larger picture we're seeing for the entire region here. We're characterizing it as a fairly stable roll compared to last year; certainly we're not having those huge increases that we saw in some areas (like West Vancouver's 25 per cent increases)," said Grant McDonald of the BC Assessment Office.

"Whistler's been a little flatter than that. It seems to be that the trend is continuing with about a five per cent drop for Whistler."

The regional drops were also significant on Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast, resulting in the biggest drops in southwest British Columbia, including the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. However, they were not the biggest drops in the province, with some West Kootenay locations seeing residential assessment decreases of more than 18 per cent.

The assessments were based on market valuations taken in July 1, 2012 and physical condition of the property as of Oct. 31, 2012, said the Resort Municipality of Whistler in a statement.

"We always try to say, 'If you look at this particular market it may be have moved five per cent, but of course there are different neighbourhoods and they move at different rates, and that's exactly the same thing in Vancouver," Grant said.

BC Assessments also supplied individual assessment samples. For example, in Whistler, a single-family dwelling in White Gold fell from $1.034 million to $969,000; a single-family dwelling in Whistler Cay fell from $2.112 million to $2.038 million. In Squamish, a single-family dwelling downtown fell from $374,000 to $359,000, but a single-family dwelling in Garibaldi Highlands rose from $497,000 to $507,000.

"(The properties chosen as a sample) are not meant to be representative of the market as a whole, they just seem to illustrate the trend."

Grant also noted that sales volumes were down overall but property values through much of the province had not changed very much for this year's assessment.

"The sales volume for Whistler, I looked at those, and the single family sales were very similar to what they were last year, so the volume hasn't changed very much. The strata sales are off a little bit compared to last year," he said.

The Finance Depart of the Resort Municipality of Whistler confirmed a drop in value of about five per cent, and said in a statement on Jan. 2 that changes in property assessments will affect the amount of property tax allocated to each property but not the overall amount of municipal tax to be collected. Assessed values do not impact the total amount of municipal property tax to be collected from property owners.

It noted, however, that changes to property assessments in Whistler relative to the rest of the province would affect how much property tax is to be collected in Whistler (e.g. school tax).

-With files by Andrew Mitchell.

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