Property assessments in Saanich shot through the roof, but it is not clear yet whether residents will see higher property taxes as a result.
Figures released by B.C. Assessment earlier this week show that property values across Saanich rose by double-digits from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016. Figures varied according to location.
While Saanich properties within the boundaries of School District 61 rose almost 20 per cent to $653,000 from $544,500, Saanich properties within the boundaries of School District 63 rose almost 22 per cent to $836,000 from $686,800.
These figures place Saanich right in the middle of Greater Victoria communities with higher property assessments.
“The preliminary market analysis for 2017 assessments indicates significant increases over the 2016 property assessment year,” said acting assessor Christopher Whyte in a release. “Increases of 10 to 40 per cent will be typical for single-family homes in Victoria, Saanich, Sidney and Oak Bay. Typical strata residential increases will be in the five to 25 per cent range.”
Some communities in the Lower Mainland reported even higher assessment increases, with some seeing assessments climb 50 per cent.
Published experts cite last year’s sizzling real estate market for the increases in the Greater Victoria area and elsewhere. But experts are also quick to note that these increases will not necessarily translate into higher property taxes.
Valla Tinney, Saanich’s director of finance, said the average increase in property taxes cannot be determined until the budget deliberation process is complete in early May.
In any case, assessment fluctuations do not directly impact property tax revenue, said Tinney.
“The amount of property tax revenue the municipality collects in the year is determined by council in setting the annual budget. The assessment changes only impact each property owner’s share of the taxes.”
The following example illustrates this point, said Tinney.
“Let’s say the average assessment increase is 20 per cent and in May the average tax increase is stated at 2.5 per cent. If my assessed value went up 10 per cent from last year, my increase in property taxes will be less than the stated average of 2.5 per cent. If my assessed value went up 40 per cent, my increase in property taxes will be higher than the stated average of 2.5 per cent. Only properties that go up by the average assessment increase of 20 per cent will experience the average tax increase of 2.5 per cent.”