As property owners start to receive their 2020 assessments, at least some are in for a bit of a shock.
On average last year, property values increased by 15 per cent in Smithers according to a BC assessments report for Northern B.C. published this week.
The report shows the value of a typical single family home in Smithers went from $316,000 in 2019 to $362,ooo in 202o.
This Smithers numbers are at odds with the overall trend in the North which was an increase of 4.8 per cent on average.
“For most of Northern B.C.’s homes, there has been a moderate increase compared to last year’s assessments,” said deputy assessor Jarret Krantz. “In some instances, there has been a larger increase in rural areas within the region, particularly with lakefront properties.”
Smithers mayor Gladys Atrill, said rising assessments are kind of a good news-bad news situation.
“It’s kind of like looking at the two sides of the same coin,” she said. “The part that makes me feel good is that people are choosing Smithers as a home, it’s a desirable community and people are wanting to come here.
“Of course, the other side of the coin is with prices going up, affordability becomes a greater and greater issue.”
Affordable housing was the major issue in the October 2020 byelection in which Atrill was elected mayor and she added council is well aware additional housing stock is needed.
A housing assessment report delivered to council in December anticipates Smithers will grow by 224 households by 2024. That report will inform planning as council enters its 2021 session.
Only Burns Lake, at 21 per cent, had a greater increase than Smithers among the 34 communities covered by the report.
Ron Lapadat, owner of Ron Lapadat Personal Real Estate Corporation in Smithers attributed the bump to a number of factors. He said upward pressure on property values in larger centres particularly Vancouver, combined with a general trend toward working from home, which was further accentuated by COVID-19 is making smaller communities more attractive.
“I would say, generally good demand for our area in general, just because it’s a place where people want to live, it’s got the amenities and pretty good employment base and in addition to that people can work remotely more and more,” he said adding that supply has been low while demand is high.
“Keep in mind, the assessments are not necessarily what the market increase is, but definitely prices were up and probably weren’t too far off [15 per cent].
People in rural Smithers generally fared a little better than their municpal counterparts with assessments in the surrounding area going up on average only eight per cent.
Meanwhile strata residential properties in Smithers were only up by an average of three per cent with a typical unit valued at $298,000 in 2020 compared to $290,000 in 2019.
This year, six Bulkley Valley properties made the list of the 100 Top Valued Properties in the North compared to three last year. A 137-acre property on the Telkwa High Road approximately halfway between Smithers and Telkwa was the highest valued in the valley at $1.20 million and came in number 45 in the North.
Previously number one locally, Harvey and Corry Tremblay’s place on Viewmount Rd. was second in the valley at $1.15 million and number 55 in the Top 100.
Coming in at number 73 overall and third in the valley is Dan Hamhuis’s new lakefront home on Tyhee Lake valued at $1.10 million.