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Virus expected to have effect on real estate market, but extent not known: BC Assessment

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
April 27th, 2020

The pandemic created by Covid-19 has affected every facet of society, but its ultimate mark on real estate values has yet to be determined, says a BC Assessment representative.

Ramaish Shah said the full effect of the current pandemic will ultimately affect property values in Nelson and across the province, but the extent to which won’t be known until the figures are tabulated later this year.

He said the provincial organization has been “looking very closely” at the effect of the virus on the real estate market, but after delivering the latest assessment roll for Nelson and the province, he could not predict what it will be.

“There will be some appeals where people are bringing this (virus) into play over the next few months, but it’s still very early, in our experience with the Covid-19 pandemic, so I don’t know what the impact of that will be on real estate markets down the road,” he told city council at the April 20 committee-of-the-whole meeting.

“(I)t’s impacting everything we do as a society, the real estate part of it is going to be part of that puzzle.”

He said the real estate sales for the first three months of the year had been in the works before the virus erupted in Canada and are now complete, so the next few months will be the telling tale of the virus’ effect.

What is BC Assessment

BC Assessment develops and maintains real property assessments throughout British Columbia in addition to providing real property information.

BC Assessment maintains real property assessments in compliance with the Assessment Act which requires that properties be assessed as of July 1 each year.

To do this, BC Assessment produces assessment information annually to provide tax authorities with a tax base and other information collected about property.

The assessment information is the product provided to local governments and other taxing authorities containing all of the information on the individual assessments.

BC Assessment was established in 1974 as a non-partisan commission tasked with examining property assessment and taxation.

It operates independent of property taxing function and independent of provincial politics.

— Source: BC Assessment

The average value of a home in Nelson for 2020 — for the 4,760 “folios” contained within the city — was pegged at $588,617 by BC Assessment.

Nelson was divided into six neighbourhoods for the assessment, and of the four residential neighbourhoods, the highest average for a home was Fairview at $530,223 (1,712 folios).

Next was Uphill at $503,535 (1,508 folios), with Rosemont third at $427,851 (869 folios). The North Shore extension was fourth with $367,222 based on 72 folios.

The commercial core was averaged at $774,740 (553 folios) and the power plant extension was $6,697,187 with 46 folios.

Strata units — condominiums — went up a little more than single family homes and the commercial properties in Nelson, up to 10 per cent compared to five per cent for residential and commercial.

“And that’s reflected in the market in what we are seeing in terms of demand and selling prices relative to single family dwellings,” said Shah.

The city saw an increase in total properties by .5 per cent (4,760 properties), with a 4.3 per cent increase in total value from the 2019 roll to $2.8 billion. The total non-market change was an 18.5 per cent increase from the 2019 roll ($25.68 million).

Although total properties in the province rose by 1.06 per cent, the total value dropped from the 2019 roll by 2.5 per cent.

Market value of a home according to BC Assessment is the most probable price which a property should bring in a competitive market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, “each acting prudently, knowledgeably and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus.”

The work of BC Assessment

BC Assessment provides an annual list of property values and identifies ownership, value, classification and exemptions for each property.

BC Assessment represents over two million properties in the province with total value of $1.94 trillion, providing a base for local governments and taxing authorities to raise approximately $8 billion annually in property taxes for schools and important local services.

— Source: BC Assessment

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