B.C.’s 2020 property assessment letters are in the mail and the average residential property owner in Smithers can expect to see increase of approximately 11 per cent over 2019.
According to a BC Assessment press release, the average single family home in Smithers is now worth $316,000, up from $279,000.
Strata units also saw a modest increase of four per cent rising to $290,000 from $279 last year.
Smithers Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill said it is too early to say how or if the new assessment will impact mill rates.
“It will all factor in,” she said. “We haven’t even started the budget yet. The standard process is to kind of go through all the projects and things that need to be done, figure out cost and then with that information on cost make a determination on how the taxes will be levied, so it’s just really early for me to have any comment on. It all factors into the conversation when the time comes.”
In general terms, however, Atrill sees increasing property values as a bit of a double-edged sword.
“It’s always a couple of sides of the same coin,” she said. “In general, I would view it as a positive sign people are feeling confident about the area, not just Smithers but the region, so property values go up.
“The other side of that is sometimes it means things are costing more so if people go to buy a house it’s going to cost a bit more than it did in previous years, but in general I would see increasing property values as a positive sign.”
“It does put pressure on the housing stock, of course, which is something that we deal with all the time… making sure there is enough housing stock across the various price spectrum so that everyone can have a home.”
Overall in the North—described as stretching east to the Alberta border, north to the Yukon border, west to Bella Coola including Haidi Gwaii and to the south just north of Clinton—the change in assessed values ranges from minus-five per cent to plus-25 per cent.
“For most of the region’s homes, it’s a bit of a mix of modest increases and decreases compared to last year’s assessments,” said deputy assessor Jarret Krantz. “There are some exceptions such as Terrace and Kitimat where most homeowners will see increases of 20 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.”
In Telkwa, the assessments climbed 14 per cent with an average single family home now valued at $294,000.
Property values in Hazelton and New Hazelton remained relatively more stable with two per cent and six per cent increases respectively.
The Northwest, from Telkwa to Prince Rupert and including Stewart and Haida Gwaii, bucks an overall trend in the province of moderation in B.C. real estate markets. The Lower Mainland saw decreases of up to 15 per cent including 11 per cent in Metro Vancouver.
Vancouver Island also shows signs of stabilization with modest increases and decreases ranging from minus-five to plus-five per cent.
“This is a positive sign that our government’s efforts to make housing more affordable for more British Columbians are having a real impact,” said Selina Robinson, housing minister in a statement. “For too long, the previous government sat back and watched housing prices climb well out of the reach of average people.”
Three homes in the Bulkley Valley made BC Assessment’s list of the 100 Northern BC Top Valued Residential Properties. The highest valued local property, coming in at number 65 on the Northern B.C. list belongs to Harvey and Corry Tremblay.
The Hytech Drilling owner’s acreage on Viewmount Road was assessed at $1.096 million for 2020, increase of $76,000.
The two other Top 100 homes in the Bulkley Valley are both lakefront properties on Tyhee Lake at $1.079 and $1.037 million respectively.
Perennially the number one valued residential property in the North is located at 6653 Lakeshore Drive in Moberly Lake (Dawson Creek area). The 30,000 square foot log mansion with 10 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms is said to be one of the largest log structures in the world.
And, once again, the most expensive home in the province is Lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s sprawling Kitsalano Beach estate in Vancouver at $64.9 million.