2016 property assessments in the mail

Oak Bay homeowners will see an average increase of about 6.52 per cent on this year’s assessments

Oak Bay homeowners will be looking at an average increase of about 6.52 per cent on this year’s property assessments, mailed this week from BC Assessment.

As of  July 1, 2015, the average single-family detached home in Oak Bay was assessed at $785,900, up from a July 1, 2014 assessment of $737,800. Notices reflect market value as of July 1, 2015.

“Notably, a robust real estate market over the past year resulted in assessment increases for many properties in the Vancouver Island Region,” said Regional Assessor Reuben Danakody.

BC Assessment collects, monitors and analyzes property data throughout the year. Assessments do vary by individual jurisdiction/municipality within the Island region, which includes Greater Victoria, the south, central and north Island, the West Coast, Northern and Southern Gulf Islands and Powell River.

Overall, Vancouver Island’s total assessments increased from $163.96 billion in 2015 to $170.15 billion this year. Almost $2.24 billion of the Island’s updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions and rezoning of properties.

An increase in assessed property value doesn’t mean property owners will see the same increase in property taxes, notes councillor and acting mayor Michelle Kirby.

“Say your assessment goes up 25 per cent, it doesn’t mean your taxes will go up 25 per cent.”

Further, “we’re going to do our best to make sure municipal taxes stay affordable.”

If a property has a higher or lower percentage change than the average increase for Oak Bay of 6.52 per cent, that property will have a higher or lower than average percentage increase in its municipal property taxes, explains Patricia Walker, Oak Bay director of financial services, noting municipal taxes accounted for approximately 55 per cent of the taxes on the 2015 property tax bill.

The municipal portion of property taxes isn’t the only thing affected by assessments. Capital Regional Hospital District costs and many CRD costs are shared between the region’s municipalities using assessment figures, Walker says.

If Oak Bay’s share of the total assessments in the region changes – up or down – its share of costs is also affected.

Similarly, Oak Bay’s share of library system costs is based 50 per cent on assessments and 50 per cent on population, so assessment changes also affect its library costs, Walker says.

Other organizations providing tax rates, such as the province for school taxes and BC Assessment, also use assessment values to some extent to develop the rates used on property tax notices.

Residents wanting more information about individual properties or trends within the province can visit bcassessment.ca.

“Property owners can access  useful information on our website including answers to many assessment-related questions. Those who feel that their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2015 or see incorrect information on their notice, should contact BC Assessment as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January,” Danakody says.

Appeals must be filed by Feb.1.