This property located at 3051 McAnally Rd is among 22 Saanich properties among the Top 100 assessed properties on Vancouver Island, according to new assessment figures. Last year, it ranked 25th as one of four Saanich properties among the Top 25 with an assessed value of $7.026 million. This year, it dropped to 54th with an assessed value of $6.479 million. Black Press File.

Saanich assessments up 15 per cent over last year

Saanich property values went up in 2017, but by less than they did in 2016.

Average Saanich homes within School District 61 (SD61) were worth $759,000 on July 1, 2017 – up 17 per cent from July 1, 2016 – while average Saanich homes within School District 63 (SD63) were worth $940,000 on July 1, 2017 – up 13 per cent from July 1, 2016.

B.C. Assessment – the provincial Crown corporation charged with creating assessment rolls used for local taxation purposes – released these figures Tuesday.

These figures actually marked a slow down compared to 2016, when assessment values rose 20 per cent in SD61 and 22 per cent in SD63.

While municipalities use these assessments to set property tax rates, higher assessment rates do not necessarily point towards higher property tax rates.

Valla Tinney, Saanich’s director of finance, said in an interview last year 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.”

Looking at specific local neighbourhoods, Saanich’s Cadboro Bay neighbourhood with its stunning ocean views appears to be the most exclusive based on assessed home values.

Of the 22 Saanich properties that crack the 100 most valued properties on Vancouver Island, 19 lie within the boundaries of the Cadboro Bay Residents Association.

Of the remaining three, two fall within the boundaries of the Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs, while Saanich’s most valuable property located at 1063 Gardenwood Court lies in the Royal Oak-Broadmead area within the boundaries of the Gordon Head Residents’ Association.

The value of that property? $8.24 million. That property is also the only Saanich property to crack the Top 25 at 19th spot.

Queenswood Drive, meanwhile, appears to be the most exclusive street in Saanich, with nine properties cracking the Top 100 for Vancouver Island.

Compared to other municipalities in the Capital Regional District, Saanich found itself in the middle in terms of increases.

Sidney (20 per cent), Langford (21 per cent) and Metchosin (25 per cent) recorded the highest increases in assessed values. These figures offer additional confirmation of the growth that has taken place outside the CRD’s core area in the search for housing.

James Island off Sidney topped the 2018 list of the most valued residential property in the Vancouver Island catchment area, with a total value of $54.43 million. Two properties on Oak Bay’s Humber Road – both valued at just over $15 million – round out the Top 3 for Vancouver Island.

Overall, Oak Bay is home to seven out of the 10 most valued properties in the Vancouver Island catchment.

Assessments appear as of July 1, 2017 and capture six variables: location, size of home, size of lot, age of home, miscellaneous features that can affect value, and comparable sales prices and other real estate market information.

Property owners who wish to challenge their assessments face an appeal deadline of Jan. 31, 2018. A review panel will hear assessment complaints between Feb. 1 and March 15 of each year. A second level of appeal is also available.

Gerry Marolla, deputy assessor for the Vancouver Island assessment region, said the “bulk” of filings come from individuals who feel their assessment is too high. But individuals file for a variety of reasons, he said. Those reasons include owners who believe their assessment is too low in anticipation of a pending real estate sale, or they may wish to claim farm status, or continue to receive an exemption.

Over 98 per cent of property owners typically accept their property assessment without proceeding to a formal, independent review of their assessment.

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