What a difference a year makes.
In January 2022, homeowners were gasping at assessed values of property in some North Shore neighbourhoods that had risen by 30 and even 40 per cent in one turn of the calendar.
This year, not so much.
Assessed values are still up – by an average of 6.6 per cent for single-family homes and close to 10 per cent for condos.
But even digging into the numbers for which neighbourhoods are up more or less than “average” shows far fewer over-the-top differences compared to last year.
Among single-family homes, the neighbourhoods with the biggest increases were up between 10 and 14 per cent this year. They included Fromme, Lynn Valley, Deep Cove, Dollarton, Hamilton North and new homes in Tempe Heights in North Vancouver. In West Vancouver, the same kinds of increases were evident in the eastern part of the British Properties, with Altamont just below that.
Perhaps not surprisingly, single family homes in areas that saw stratospheric increases in assessed value last year were among the neighbourhoods with the smaller increases this year. They included Grouse Woods, Delbrook, Capilano and Lower Lonsdale in North Vancouver which all clocked in with increases under five per cent and Lynnmour, where assessed values even decreased. Similarly in West Vancouver, areas where detached homes saw the smallest changes included Cedardale, Caulfeild and some parts of Ambleside, with the latter two decreasing in value.
Assessed values of condos were up more than detached homes in most neighbourhoods, including Lynn Valley, Dollarton, Seymour Heights and Lonsdale – where assessed values were up between 10 and 14 per cent.
Real estate agents have pointed out some of those changes are a result of new condos being sold that are generally more expensive than older units.
One extreme example in that category was Horseshoe Bay, where high-end condos in the new waterfront development on the former Sewell’s property meant the number of condos in the neighbourhood catapulted from 23 in 2021 to 179 in 2022 and “average” values more than doubled – from $929,000 in July 2021 to almost $2 million in July 2022.
But real estate agents also caution that assessed values as of the snapshot in July 2022 may have little to do with values of properties now, six months later.
While the first half of 2022 started off with a strong real estate market, by the second quarter of last year, that had already peaked and was rapidly falling.
“The market was just starting to slow down July 1,” said Calvin Lindberg, a Realtor with Angell, Hasman and Associates in West Vancouver.
As interest rates rose sharply, “we had a couple of months where they were probably the slowest months in 10 years,” said Lindberg. That trend continues.
Assessed values have never been an exact science, Lindberg said. “Assessed values have always struggled to be able to peg where the value is. I very seldom pull out the assessed value. They’re always behind.”
Sometimes very specific factors can influence value – like whether a property looks out on to the inner harbour to out to the ocean, which commands a higher value – even if those houses are on the same street. Properties that are closer to central amenities also tend to have higher assessed values than properties that are farther out. And some, like Edgemont Village, are just perennially popular, Lindberg said.