HOME assessments for properties on the North Shore are showing some decreases in value for the first time in many years.
Although the change isn't dramatic or necessarily widespread, the drop in assessed values for some homes - particularly single-family houses in North Vancouver neighbourhoods - is new this year, said Paul Borgo, deputy assessor of the Vancouver Sea-to-Sky Assessment Office. "This is the first year in some time we've seen decreasing assessments," he said.
One single-family home in Lynn Valley assessed at $878,000 last year, for instance, was assessed at $846,000 this year and a home in Blueridge marked at $910,000 in the last assessment was valued at $850,000. Single family homes in the City of North Vancouver also saw a drop in value with a detached house in the Grand Boulevard area decreasing from $909,000 to about $901,000 in value.
Not all neighbourhoods were affected equally. A Delbrook home assessed at $1.12 million last year had an increase in value to $1.19 million this year.
Condos and townhouses were also stable, with some assessments increasing in value. Generally the housing market on the North Shore remains stable, said Borgo, with assessments typically changing anywhere from a five per cent decrease to a five per cent increase in value.
The cooling of previous double-digit increases in assessment values reflects a trend seen throughout Metro Vancouver,
Bucking the trend of a generally flat market was West Vancouver, where assessments continued to rise between July 2011 and July 2012.
There, a single-family home in Dundarave rose in value from $1.76 million last year to $1.99 million this year. A home in the British Properties went from $2.22 million last year to $2.29 million this year.
But even the increases in West Vancouver's resilient market may be shifting. Gains in West Vancouver's assessments were much weaker than they were the previous year, when homes in Gleneagles and Ambleside increased between 20 to 28 per cent in value and single family homes in the British Properties shot up by up to 45 per cent.
Sale prices for West Vancouver properties have also decreased in the past six months, with the recent "benchmark" price for a West Vancouver home sitting at $1.78 million - down almost nine per cent from six months ago, according to figures released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
The benchmark price for a detached home selling in North Vancouver was $908,500 - down about seven per cent from six months previous.
Because the market is always changing and assessments offer a snapshot of value at a particular time, a home's current value could be greater or less than the assessment, said Borgo.
Some of the highest-assessed luxury properties in B.C. are still found in West Vancouver. The North Shore's highest assessment went to a home at 3330 Radcliffe Avenue on the West Vancouver waterfront, valued at $23.57 million.
Others that cracked the $20 million mark included homes at 1690 Marlowe Place in the Chartwell neighbourhood, which clocked in at $21.69 million, and another waterfront home at 2588 Bellevue Avenue valued at just shy of $21 million.
In total, 17 homes in West Vancouver were among the top 200 assessments in the province.
Homeowners on the North Shore can expect to get their assessment notices in the mail in the next week. B.C. Assessment also has a free online feature allowing anyone to check assessed values and sale prices for the period from July 2011 to July 2012 in neighbourhoods throughout the province.
The province has raised the threshold value for homes eligible for its homeowner grant this year to $1.295 million.