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Annual assessments on property values in Osoyoos see slight decrease in 2014
Most local homeowners should see no major changes when they receive their 2014 assessment notices this month and many will see small decreases.
Average residential assessments dropped slightly in all South Okanagan communities except Summerland and the total assessment roll for the region also dropped slightly despite new developments.
The notices were recently mailed by BC Assessment and most homes in the South Okanagan are within plus or minus five per cent up or down from last year, said Tracy Wall, deputy assessor with BC Assessment Okanagan.
Assessments are used to calculate municipal taxes on individual properties, but an increase or decrease in assessment won’t likely result in a noticeable increase or decrease in taxes unless the change is markedly out of step from other properties.
“It’s fairly stable,” said Wall. “We’re trying to put in a range because there’s always a few anomalies or property types that are changing a little bit differently from the others. But what we’re finding generally throughout the Okanagan is values are quite stable with very little change going up or down.”
B.C., like most provinces, uses market-based assessments, and the assessment reflects a property’s market value as of July 1, 2013.
This figure may be adjusted at the end of October to reflect “state and condition” of properties, including any major changes such as additions.
Property owners who wish to dispute their assessments have until January 31 to submit a written Notice of Complaint (Appeal) for an independent review by a Property Assessment Review Panel, Wall said.
Fewer than two per cent of B.C. homeowners take their concerns to an appeal, she added.
Most issues can be resolved by homeowners informing themselves and, if they still have concerns, by speaking with an appraiser at BC Assessment, she said.
The assessment notice provides information, and people can use tools on BC Assessment’s website to compare their home’s value to others in their community.
“We’ve got assessments by address so they can check their own assessment online or their neighbours’ and also sales of properties are available on e-valueBC, which is a public website,” Wall said.
The website can be found at www.bcassessment.ca.
“Once you’ve done a little bit of research and a person still has questions about their assessment, then we do encourage them to contact our office and speak directly to an appraiser,” said Wall. “Most often the questions are answered and issues are resolved.”
For those who do appeal and are still not satisfied, there is a second level of appeal with an April 30 filing deadline.
Those going on to this level of Property Assessment Appeal Board must have gone through the first level with a Property Assessment Review Panel.
Although municipal taxes are based on a particular property’s assessment, municipalities determine how much money they need to raise in taxes and they adjust the mill rate to offset any overall increases or decreases in a community’s total assessment roll.
While most Okanagan communities have seen slight decreases in property values, Wall said there are some anomalies in addition to Summerland.
North Okanagan communities of Enderby and Coldstream also saw values increase, as did some property categories in Kelowna.
In the South Okanagan, the total assessment roll decreased to $19,516,491,502 this year from $19,636,475,825 last year. The 2014 assessment roll includes $217,229,016 for subdivisions, rezoning and new construction.
BC Assessment’s Okanagan office recently moved to a new location in Kelowna and is now located at #300 – 1631 Dickson Ave. During January, office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Property owners can contact BC Assessment toll free at 1-866-825-8322 or by clicking “Connect” on the website at www.bcassessment.ca.