BC Assessment has announced its valuations on properties, which is the basis for how much people pay in municipal taxes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

BC Assessment has announced its valuations on properties, which is the basis for how much people pay in municipal taxes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Drastic jump in South Cariboo property values

An increase of up to 49 percent seen for some properties

South Cariboo property owners may be in for a shock when they receive their 2022 BC Assessments this week, as values in the region have jumped by upwards of 49 per cent in some areas.

The average increase in 100 Mile House – based on market value as of July 1, 2021 – is 33 per cent, up drastically from a two per cent increase last year, according to BC Assessment data released this week.

Bridge Lake resident Tony Ball said he was shocked when he looked up his property assessment online this week to see the value of his 500 sq-ft “shack” on 25 acres had increased more than $100,000, which marks a jump of 49 per cent in value.

“Most people wouldn’t live in this place,” Ball said of the small, rustic home he bought two and a half years ago. “And in the blink of an eye, we have a $100,000 increase for doing absolutely nothing. What if we want to do improvements? Then how much are we going to not be able to afford?”

Other properties in Ball’s neighbourhood have also seen drastic increases; a few doors down, a property on 30 acres with a house built in 1985 jumped from $374,000 to $551,000 this year, an increase of 47 per cent. The 46-acre property adjacent to Ball’s, with no structure on it, increased by 48 per cent in value from 2021’s assessment.

In other parts of the South Cariboo, increases range from an average of 37 per cent in 108 Mile Ranch to an average of 27 per cent in the Lone Butte area. In Clinton the figures have gone from an average of $155,000 in 2020 to $176,000 in 2021 (a 14 per cent increase).

READ MORE: South Cariboo real estate still in hot demand

According to Northern BC Deputy Assessor Beau Rossel, there is a variety of criteria used to determine the market value of a house or property, including what similar listings in the area have sold for during the previous summer real estate market.

Additionally, a home’s age, size, location and view are also taken into consideration. Rossel said the increase in the South Cariboo values reflects a trend throughout the Interior and Northern B.C.

“All during the pandemic, the real estate market has remained robust across the province including higher demand throughout Northern BC, which has resulted in higher 2022 assessment values for most homeowners in the region,” Rossel said.

Rick Church, who owns a three-bedroom home on a 1.1-acre lot on Horse Lake, saw an increase of $208,000 in his assessment from last year.

While Church said he doesn’t necessarily dispute the increase, he does question the value of his approximately $4,000 tax bill – which he expects to also increase this year.

“My biggest complaint is that I get nothing for my taxes,” Church said, noting his house has no public water or sewer and no garbage or recycling pickup. In the winter months, Church said his road is very rarely plowed or sanded, and in the spring and summer months he and his neighbours have repeatedly complained about the muddy or dusty road conditions, to no avail.

“We have been trying to get the road maintained since we moved here, and when we ask them to come do something about the road, they’re not doing it,” Church said, noting he plans to apply for a tax deferral this year.

Rossel said that an increase in property value does not necessarily mean that property’s taxes will go up, noting that the fluctuation will depend on the change in property class average as well as the local government’s budgetary needs.

“It depends on two things – are you moving lower or higher than the average in your property class?” Rossel said. “And what is the regional district or municipality determining their needs are in terms of their overall property taxes, and they’ll be making their changes to the mill rate usually some time in the spring.”

Property owners who are concerned about their assessments are welcome to call a toll-free line at 1-866-825-8322 during the month of January to discuss their property’s value.

Appeals can be filed in writing before Jan. 31 for an independent review, which will take place online in either February or March, where a panel will determine if the assessment is reasonable.

Ball said he will appealing his assessment this year, fearing that not only will his taxes increase based on the new value but his house insurance is likely to jump as well.

“We live a simple life, we don’t live beyond our means,” Ball said. “But we’re on a fixed income and we don’t want to be priced out of living a decent life here.”


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