Property assessments on the rise

District of New Hazelton jumps 22.73 per cent, Smithers at 2.23 per cent and Telkwa sees nine per cent increase in 2014.

District of New Hazelton residents may be shocked when they open their 2014 property assessment notices and see a 22.73 per cent increase over last year.

According to BC Assessment, the average value of a home in New Hazelton rose to $108,000 from $88,000 in 2013.

Wendy Hunt, District of New Hazleton chief administrative officer, said she didn’t expect property taxes to make a similar increase.

“It’s very early but I think it’s safe to say there will be some increases, but they won’t be very significant,” Hunt said. “We will adjust our mill rate to offset [the increased assessments].”

Christopher Whyte, BC Assessment deputy assessor, north region, said they review and analyze all sales that take place within the year to determine the property value.

“As a result, the sales that took place in New Hazelton in 2013 indicated that the market was willing to pay more for property in that location,” Whyte said.

“I am unable to speculate as to what the influence was behind this increase as there can be multiple reasons behind the purchase prices of property. The one common trend that is present across the majority of the north half of the province is that the natural resource sector is continuing to prosper, which will create certain economic outcomes”

Peter Lund, Re/Max Bulkley Valley managing broker, said he sees no reason for the significant jump in property assessments in New Hazelton.

“There’s no justification regarding industry or new jobs to support that increase,” Lund said. “If they’re correcting an already down market that’s one thing but to me, [the property assessment] is too high.”

In Telkwa and Smithers, the average value of a single-family home rose nine and 2.23 per cent, respectively.

These prices are a lot closer to what properties are actually selling for, Lund said.

“Those numbers are a lot more accurate,” he said.

The biggest assessment in the northwest region was in Kitimat, where properties increased in value by 26.67 per cent, from an average home price of $180,000 to $228,000.