Ladysmith property assessments remain stable

The 2013 assessment notices are being sent out, and most Ladysmith property owners can expect no change or a slight decrease.

Property assessments in Ladysmith continue to be stable, and the regional assessor says that’s a good thing.

The 2013 assessment notices were recently sent out to more than 38,000 property owners throughout the Cowichan Valley.

“Most homes in Cowichan Valley will see moderate decreases or little change in value compared to last year’s assessment roll,” said Vancouver Island regional assessor Bill MacGougan. “Most home owners will see modest changes in the minus-10 per cent to plus-five per cent range.”

Overall, Cowichan Valley’s taxable residential assessment roll is $11,006,821,659 this year. A total of almost $164,000,000 in new residential value has been added due to various changes, including subdivision, rezoning and new construction.

In general, commercial property assessments have remained stable in the Cowichan Valley, with a taxable commercial assessment roll of $796,861,080. A total of almost $29,000,000 in new commercial value has been added due to various changes, including subdivision, rezoning and new construction.

For Ladysmith, an example of the 2013 completed assessment roll (with a valuation date of July 1, 2012) for a single-family dwelling is $288,500, down slightly from the 2012 assessment roll of $294,800, according to MacGougan. For a strata apartment, an example of the 2013 completed assessment roll is $178,700, compared to the 2012 assessment roll of $183,100.

MacGougan says nothing really stands out in a big away about Ladysmith’s assessments.

“Ladysmith saw the same sort of picture as the rest of the Island, so I guess the story here is for property owners, they want to know what’s happening with their biggest investment and if it’s safe, and over that period from July 1 to July 1, values have held steady,” he said. “There are some fluctuations, but the largest group will see no change at all or a slight decrease in their assessment.”

Overall, the assessment roll for Ladysmith shrunk less than half a per cent, according to MacGougan.

Ladysmith picked up about $25 million in new construction, up from $21 million in new construction the year before, he noted.

“We’ve had two really rock-solid steady years,” said MacGougan. “I do think it’s a good-news story that the market has stayed exactly where it was. The story is fairly consistent up and down the Island.”

Assessments are the estimate of a property’s market value as of July 1, 2012, and physical condition as of Oct. 31, 2012.

Changes in property assessments reflect movement in the local real estate market and can vary greatly from property to property. When estimating a property’s market value, BC Assessment’s professional appraisers analyze current sales in the area, as well as considering other characteristics such as size, age, quality, condition, view and location.

MacGougan encourages property owners who feel that their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2012, or who see incorrect information on their notice to visit BC Assessment’s website or contact the BC Assessment office as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January.

“If a property owner is still concerned about their assessment after speaking to one of our appraisers, they may submit a Notice of Complaint (Appeal) by Jan. 31, for an independent review by a Property Assessment Review Panel,” he noted.

The Property Assessment Review Panels, independent of BC Assessment, are appointed annually by the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, and meet between Feb. 1 and March 15 to hear formal complaints.

The Central Vancouver Island assessment office is located at 300-125 Wallace St. in Nanaimo. During the month of January, the office is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Property owners can contact BC Assessment toll-free at 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322) or online.

Visit BC Assessment’s website for more information about the 2013 assessment roll, including lists of 2013’s top most valuable residential properties across the province. Property owners can also visit the website for an online customer service survey, available until Jan. 31.

“As usual, every year, our website and tools get better,” said MacGougan, noting property owners can look at comparable properties and also look at the assessments for other properties on their street. “We have some very useful tools and lots of good information. We are also standing by and taking calls.”