The assessed value of residential properties in Nelson has gone up an average of 9.3 per cent.
Last year’s increase was nine per cent, compared with 5.7 per cent the year before that and less than two per cent in the previous two years, according to BC Assessment.
“It is generally a stable market again this year,” said Ramaish Shah, deputy assessor for the Kootenay Columbia Region. “We have seen an increase throughout the region and that is reflected in the current year’s assessment.”
He said there were even fewer properties listed for sale in Nelson this year than at assessment time last year.
“That is the trend. There is just not a lot of inventory on the market and that is reflected in the sale prices. Revelstoke, for example, was up over 20 per cent this year, and that is generally due to the limited amount of properties out there available for purchase.”
He said anything from a zero to 10 per cent increase is considered a stable market, “and that is what we see across the region.”
But just because assessed value may have gone up, that does not necessarily mean property taxes will go up, Nelson’s Chief Financial Officer Colin McClure told the Star in 2017.
“The first thing we do is that we take the new assessed value, and we say, ‘What would the rate have been to collect the same amount of taxes we did (the year before)?’”
And they adjust the tax rate accordingly. This means on average, with exceptions for some properties, taxes will stay the same.
Increases in taxes come when the city decides it needs more money than it did last year, to fund for example a new project or a new collective agreement, or to cover inflation.
Four West Kootenay communities show increases higher than Nelson’s: Grand Forks increased by 9.9 per cent, Rossland by 11.8 per cent, Fruitvale by 17.2 per cent, and Midway by 14.2 per cent.
Other increases among Nelson’s neighbours include: Trail, 8.9 per cent; Creston, 7.8 per cent; Salmo, 6.5 per cent; Castlegar, 5.4 per cent; Kaslo, 4.8 per cent; Slocan, 0.6 per cent; New Denver, 0.5 per cent; and Silverton, 0.4 per cent.
No communities in the region went down this year, unlike last year.
BC Assessment is a Crown corporation that classifies and values all property in BC. Each January the corporation sends a notice to property owners telling them the fair market value of their property as of July 1 of the previous year.
Municipal governments then use those numbers when applying their tax rates.
Shah says their published values reflect real estate market activity.
“If we see sales coming in that are above the value in previous year, we will increase the value, and decrease it if they are coming in lower. Our assessments are based on the sales we see in a given year.
According to BC Assessment, Nelson has the third highest average property value (after Revelstoke and Invermere) in the Kootenay-Columbia region, which covers the southeast portion of the province from Fernie to Grand Forks and from Revelstoke to Cranbrook.
Nelson is the highest valued community in the West Kootenay, followed by Rossland at $303,000.
However, the top 22 highest-valued properties in the region are all in and around Invermere, Fernie, and Golden, topped by a $5.4-million property in the Invermere area.
Twenty-third on the list is the highest valued property in the Nelson area: the Blaylock Mansion acreage on Highway 3A at Four Mile, assessed at $2.68 million.
The only other West Kootenay properties in the top 100 were a Grand Forks acreage valued at $2.54 million and three acreages near Creston, each valued at more than $1.8 million.
The total value of real estate on the 2018 roll for the province is $1.86 trillion, an increase of 11.9 per cent from last year. The value of new construction for the province is up 28 per cent over last year.
Shah said people unsatisfied with their assessments should call the number listed on their notice, and if after a discussion with staff they are not satisfied, they can file a notice of complaint by the deadline of Jan. 31.
The first three paragraphs in this story and its headline were changed on January 5. We originally reported that the value of an average house had gone up by $50,000 over last year. We made that calculation based on the average house value we reported from BC Assessment for an evaluation they did in July 2016, namely $363,000, and the value BC Assessment gave us this year: $413,000 evaluated in July of 2017. That difference is $50,000. But then we realized that amounts to a difference of 13.7 per cent, and the increase BC Assessment gave us for this year was 9.3 per cent.
It turns out in their assessment document published in January 2017 and the one they published in January 2018 they used a different typical house value for the July 2016 evaluation. Why? BC Assessment’s Ramaish Shah told us those are simply two different typical house values. The numbers are typical examples, not averages. That threw us off in our calculations.
BC Assessment states that a typical increase in home value in Nelson has gone up an average of 9.3 per cent over last year, but Shah said without a lot of analysis he can not say what the average increase in value would be in real numbers. So we have changed the article to express just percentages, not dollars.