‘Robust’ market sees property values rising in South Okanagan

Overall, the South Okanagan’s assessment roll increased from last year.

Though the B.C. assessment office is calling it another year of modest changes, many residential property owners in the South Okanagan are likely to see a rise in their property value this year.

“In the Okanagan, the market has been most robust between Penticton and Vernon, that commuter corridor up and down the lake,” said deputy assessor Jason Sowinski. In that area, he explained, there are increases between zero and 10 per cent in assessment values.

“Outside of those regions, we are really in the -5 to +5 per cent range, so it is a little bit more stable,” he said.

Only two Okanagan properties made it onto the list of top 500 properties in B.C., both situated in Kelowna. Penticton didn’t make it on to the list at all this year, with the only South Okanagan representatives being two Summerland properties, valued at $4.3 million and $3.9 million.

Overall, the South Okanagan’s assessment roll increased from $19,516,491,502 last year to $19,773,585,279 this year. Almost $235,000,000 was added through subdivisions, rezoning and new construction.

In Penticton, the average value of a residential property rose 3.5 per cent, to $383,000 from $370,000 on last year’s assessment. Summerland and Oliver homeowners say a slightly larger a 5.3 per cent rise in average residential property values.

Colin Fisher, Penticton’s chief financial officer, said it is too early to say what effect the new assessment’s will have on property taxes. When the city receives the final assessment roll in April, he explained, the tax rates will be adjusted to meet the overall tax levy. But between now and then, he said, property owners have the opportunity to appeal their assessment, which may change the total value on the assessment roll.

Sowinski said B.C. has an extremely low rate of appeals, ranging between one and two per cent per year. He encourages people to review their assessment.

“We do encourage people to take an active interest in their property. If you feel  that is incorrect, or you feel there is something that hasn’t been considered in driving your assessment, give our office a call, we will get an appraiser to have that conversation with you.”

Sowinski said the office is in “open house” mode at this time of year, to field questions from property owners. After speaking with appraisers, property owners have until Feb. 2 to submit a notice of complaint for an independent review by a Property Assessment Review Panel, which meet through to March 15 to hear complaints.

The Okanagan Region assessment office is located at 300-1631 Dickson Ave. in Kelowna. During January, office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Property owners can also contact BC Assessment toll-free at 1-866-825-8322 or online through www.bcassessment.ca.