Terrace property values skyrocket

Terrace and Kitimat experienced the highest jump in average property value in the entire province

The BC Assessment office’s 2015 report shows Terrace and Kitimat experienced the highest jump in average property value in the entire province, which has some residents whooping in joy while others cringe as they contemplate what the rise will mean come property tax time.

Compared to last year’s assessments, the average value of a Terrace house has risen 30 per cent, from $244,000 to $317,000.

The average home price in Kitimat rose even higher, up 39 per cent—from $227,000 to $316,000 on average for a house.

This makes Kitimat number one and Terrace number two on the list of municipalities with highest property value rise for the 2015 assessments around the province.

Seven out of the top 10 in assessment rise are municipalities from the northwest, including New Hazelton which saw a 21 per cent increase, Port Edward (19.9 per cent), Prince Rupert (17.25 per cent) and Stewart (15.6 per cent). By comparison Vancouver, which is number eight on the list, had an average assessment rise of 11.5 per cent.

For those wishing to sell their home, this rise may be a cause to celebrate, but Facebook comments indicate many homeowners not wishing to sell are worried about higher property taxes.

The city’s corporate administrator Alisa Thompson said that homeowners shouldn’t assume that they will have to pay more in property tax this year because of their higher assessment.

“Until we have done the budget process, I wouldn’t assume that your rates are going up,” said Thompson. “First we have to see how much money we need to get to provide the services, and then we can figure out how much tax revenue we need.”

Thompson said city council will be deciding on tax rates soon.

The total value of both businesses and homes has risen even higher in percentage than the individual assessments.

The total value of existing and new businesses has gone up by 31.25 per cent from $300,541,000 in 2014 to $394,469,000 in the 2015 assessments, and the total value of new and old houses has broken the billion mark valued at $1,250,769,000 compared to $952,417,000 for last year—a 31.33 per cent increase.

The hot markets here may be running out of gas, however—the 2015 BC Assessment is based on information collected in July 2014, and recent local real estate stats show higher availability of homes and apartments compared to 2013.

Local realtor John Evans noted that this fall the number of houses available in Terrace rose from 20 to 67 compared to last year and said the rise in housing prices will likely slow in the coming year.

“Our available inventory has more than tripled,” said Evans. “I am expecting them to level, though it’s too soon to say. But I don’t expect that they are going to be dropping.”