North Deltans ‘sticker shocked’ by latest B.C. assessments

The latest B.C. assessments have many residents concerned about the effect of 40 to 50 per cent property value increases.

North Deltans ‘sticker shocked’ by latest B.C. assessments

The latest property assessments have left some North Delta residents wondering what the ramifications will be of property value increases that, in some cases, top 50 per cent.

Property assessment notices were mailed out last week as well as posted on the B.C. Assessment website and were based on data from July 2016, before the 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers was introduced in Metro Vancouver.

On the North Delta Community Corner Facebook group, many residents voiced their concerns and discussed the impact of skyrocketing values.

“Anyone else here steamed about their property tax assessment? Ours is up by 51 per cent,” wrote one member. “This is ridiculous. Our assessment jumped almost $300,000 in one year. Our property tax is gonna be unbelievable. This is nuts,” said another post.

“There is a $20,000 discrepancy between my assessment and my neighbours on both sides,” wrote another concerned resident.

North Delta Realtor Erica Tucker said it’s important to keep in mind the data was taken at a peak time in real estate. “Certainly the values that people are seeing certainly are representative of the prices that were happening at that time,” she said.

“Everybody was sticker shocked I think when they opened up their assessment because we haven’t seen an increase in North Delta in quite some time. It kind of stabilized; it would go up $5,000 and then down a couple of thousand.”

Tucker said she doesn’t expect the high assessment to impact home sales.

“The supply and demand is still there for North Delta.”

Within the region, assessment increases were strongest in South Surrey, where gains of 50 per cent were typical, while jumps of more than 40 per cent were seen in parts of many other cities including Delta and Surrey.

The total combined assessed value of residential properties in the Fraser Valley jumped nearly 34 per cent from $321 billion to $430 billion. About $8 billion of that increase was the result of new construction.

Earlier this week, B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced that the homeowner grant program threshold would be increased to allow properties with assessed value up to $1.6 million take part, up from the previous $1.2 million limit.

A basic grant is $570 under under the age of 65, or $845 for seniors.

An estimated 91 per cent of homes province-wide will qualify with the new threshold, although that number drops to 83 per cent within Metro Vancouver.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said concerns over rising property assessments impacting access to the homeowner grant program had left many worried.

In December, Jackson sent a letter to de Jong asking for a revision to the program.

“Many of Delta’s residents will face a large additional cost this year, without a corresponding increase to their income, simply because the market has pushed the value of their home beyond the current home owner grant threshold,” she wrote.

In an interview with the Reporter, Mayor Jackson said the threshold increase was good news. She acknowledged residents are worried about increasing property taxes, but said taxes will not skyrocket to reflect home prices.

“If you’re in about the same position as everybody else in the neighbourhood your taxes will be about the same as they were last year,” she said. “We have an average increase in the property assessments all across the board…everybody in a particular neighbourhood will have approximately the same increase in the assessed value.”

She said the average increase in Delta was 42 per cent and varied by neighbourhood, with some of the highest being in Tsawwassen. Increases in North Delta, by comparison, were not as high.

Jackson added that residents will see a bit of an increase in property taxes, but it will not be proportionate to the increase in property values and could fluctuate based on property additions and renovations.

On Jan. 11, Delta released its proposed 2017 financial plan, which includes a 2.75 per cent increase to property tax. The money will go towards maintain city government services (0.5 per cent), police services (0.25 per cent), Delta’s drainage program (0.5 per cent) and an emergency operations centre, fire hall and training facility at Boundary Bay Airport (1.5 per cent).

The city is asking residents to provide feedback on the budget, funding priorities, municipal services and upcoming projects included in the plan by visiting delta.citizenbudget.com, emailing finance@delta.ca or calling 604-946-3230 before Jan. 20.

Annual tax rates will be set in April and property tax notifications will be sent out in May. Jackson stressed that those eligible are able to defer property taxes. (To learn more, visit www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/property-taxes/ annual-property-tax/pay/defer-taxes.)

To have property assessments reviewed, residents are able to do so by contacting B.C. Assessment before Jan. 31. Jackson encouraged residents to reach out with any questions about property taxes by calling her office at 604-946-3210.

With files from Jeff Nagel/Black Press

Surrey North Delta Leader