The median assessed value of a single-family home in Nanaimo rose 14 per cent this year, from $336,200 in 2016 to $385,000, according to B.C. Assessment.
In Lantzville, the median assessed value of a single-family home increased by nine per cent, from $404,800 to $442,000, while rural Nanaimo saw an increase of eight per cent.
Bill Dawson, deputy assessor, said the assessments reflect the real estate market value as of July 1, 2016, adding that most homeowners should expect to see an increase of some kind.
“The majority of residential single-family dwelling assessments are going to fall within that range of 10 per cent to 20 per cent within the City of Nanaimo,” he said.
Dawson said Nanaimo assessments decreased between 2012-14, but have been on the rise since 2015. He said a one-year increase of more than 10 per cent is significant, adding increases can be attributed to a healthy real estate market.
“People are attracted to communities that have all the amenities that Nanaimo has,” he said.
Janice Stromar, Vancouver Island Real Estate Board president, said it’s important to remember that the assessment value is different from what the market value of a home might be, adding that the market increased by about 20 per cent for single-family homes this year.
“Market value and assessed value are completely different,” she said.
Stromar said B.C. Assessment does not factor things such as renovations, unless its an extension of the home, into assessment values.
“[Assessments] are actually based on sales in your neighbourhood,” she said. “If sales go up, prices go up, then everybody’s assessments go up. They don’t actually look at if you’ve done any renovations.”
A property assessment increase does not automatically translate into an increase in property taxes, according to Diane Hiscock, manager of revenue services with the City of Nanaimo.
“It depends on the value of their [assessment] increase compared to the 2017 assessment increase for all properties in Nanaimo,” she said.
Hiscock said when residential property assessments go up, typically the city’s mill rate – the amount per $1,000 of property’s assessed value – will decrease, adding increases can hinge on whether council officially adopts an approved tax rate increase of 1.5 per cent.
“It’s not an increase to the mill rate – it’s an increase to the dollars that they need to collect,” she said.
If that’s the case, homeowners who had their property assessment increase by 14 per cent would experience a tax increase.
“If the value of their property rose to 14 per cent then the only change to the City of Nanaimo taxes should be if there is a [property tax] increase,” she said. “You can pay the same amount of tax, but the rate per thousand will be lower because the assessment value has gone up,” she said.