My Home’s Assessed Value is Through the Roof! What Does this Mean??

Under Advice for Sellers, Market News and Information

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Written on January 27th, 2016


With the start of the new year and the release of the new property assessment notices, people are wondering a few things. Here, we address 3 of the most frequently asked questions in relation to assessed values:

  1. Is it possible that my value has really gone up this much??
  2. Is the assessed value of my home a proper reflection of my market value?
  3. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that my assessed value went up and what should I do about it?
  1. Is it possible that my value has really gone up this much?

In short, yes. It is definitely possible. Certain areas have had their assessments go up as much as 28% (Vancouver East) year over year. Many other areas in the Greater Vancouver area have also seen their property values go up dramatically. Land has seen the biggest increase as opposed to attached condominiums and townhouses, although even the attached market has moved up significantly relative to past years.

This news release from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver should give you some indication as to what has happened to real estate market values over the last year:

  1. Is the assessed value of my home a proper reflection of my market value?

This is a difficult question to answer. The assessed value of your home is a good measure to compare your house to your neighbour’s house, but it is not necessarily an accurate reflection of your current market value.

Property assessments are completed by a crown corporation –  the BC Assessment Authority. Assessors are sent out to determine the fair market values of all properties in a given area and these values become the basis for municipal taxation. The assessors do not enter all the homes to obtain detailed information for the sake of comparison; rather, they base their appraisals on the information they have on file along with the location, what information can be ascertained from the street, and a comparison of the subject property to recent sales in the area.

It is also important to note that the properties are looked at and evaluated as of July of the previous year. For example, anyone receiving their property assessment now (January, 2016) would have had the assessment on their home done in the summer time (or fall in the case of a new build).

The market is moving fast. Much has changed in many areas since summer, 2015. For most homes in Greater Vancouver, it is likely that the property value has moved up even more since July. Further, your assessed value may fail to account for neighbourhood trends, rezoning, renovations or other updates, or particular characteristics of any specific lot or house. Either a realtor or a paid professional appraiser would be in the best position to give you a proper comparative market analysis to tell you what your home is actually worth today.

  1. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that my assessed value went up and what should I do about it?

Again, this depends. Since assessed values are used to determine municipal taxes, many people would rather their assessed values stay low, believing this will also keep their taxes down. The reality is that although taxes are calculated with reference to your assessed value, it is not necessarily true that your taxes will increase this year by the same percentage that your property assessment increased.

It is possible to appeal your assessed value if you do not feel it is an accurate representation of your home’s value. If the value is significantly off, you may be successful in your application. It would be wise to do one’s homework before appealing though – to research what other homes comparable to yours have been selling for and what their assessed values are. A good resource is the E-Value page on B.C. Assessment’s website where you can look up the assessment and certain other basic information for any property  ( Note that you must file an appeal by February 1, 2016 if you would like it to be considered.

There is somewhat of a positive aspect to an increased property assessment if you are thinking of selling this year. Although assessed values are not necessarily determinative of actual market value, there is sometimes the perception out there that they are. Buyers generally would prefer that the price they pay for a property be somewhat close to the assessed value of the property.


In summary, property assessments have skyrocketed this year for many properties, and in most cases, the true market value has actually gone up even more than the assessed value. If you really want to know what your home or investment is actually worth, your best bet is to have a realtor perform a comparative market analysis for you. Team Finney would be happy to do this for you at any time (no cost or obligation of course).