Assessments spike 70% for some Squamish homeowners

District faces one of the highest increases in housing values in the province

Seeing the results of the latest BC Assessment shocked some Squamish residents who saw their houses more than double in value. 

The figures, which were released online earlier this week, show a typical single-family house in Squamish jumped 30 to 50 per cent in value, while townhouses and apartment units increased 15 to 30 per cent. 

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But some homeowners saw their property increase even more. 

Social media is abuzz with people who are astounded their property values spiked so much, often including website links to show their homes have gone up 60 to 75 per cent. 

Christa Langdon, for instance, was surprised to see her single-family house in Brackendale jump by 73 per cent. 

She was expecting the value to go up, but not by that much. 

“I’m kind of concerned what our property taxes might go up to,” she told The Chief. 

Squamish, the North Shore, Vancouver, Burnaby, Tri-Cities and New Westminster saw the highest increases in the province. 

The data for every home in Squamish became publicly available on the E-value BC website on Jan. 1, and 2017 BC Assessment letters will be mailed out within the next couple weeks. 

Warning letters were mailed out last month to property owners whose assessments increased significantly more than average in the district. Five per cent of properties provincewide received the letters, but 10 per cent of Squamish homeowners found them in their mailboxes – the highest percentage out of any community in B.C. 

Langdon was one such property owner. 

“I got back from vacation and it was waiting for me. I was pretty upset,” she said. She found out about the 73-per-cent increase when the data was released online. 

Tim Morrison, spokesman for BC Assessment, said that even though there are Squamish residents who saw higher increases, the typical single-family house went up 30 to 50 per cent. 

“You’re always going to have some lower and some higher than the typical house,” he said. 

Assessments are made on July 1 of each year and take into account sales in the local area and other characteristics including size, age, condition, view and neighbourhood.

As of November, the benchmark price of a single-family house in Squamish is $792,100, up 27 per cent from last year. 

Townhouses are $628,000 and apartments are $361,000, up 30 and 23 per cent, respectively. 

“It’s important to think back and ask, ‘What could I have sold my property for back in July?” said Jason Grant, an assessor with BC Assessment. 

The average rate of change for all residential properties in Squamish is 35 per cent. People with homes below this amount could see a tax decrease, and those who are above can see a tax increase, Grant said.  

He said people who received the letters warning of higher-than-average increases should have a closer look at their assessments and call if they have questions. 

Complaints must be received by BC Assessment by Jan. 31.

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