REALTORS® are often asked why the assessed value of a home on a municipal property tax notice is different from the property value determined by a Realtor.
What accounts for the difference?
1. The assessed value on a municipal property tax notice is determined by BC Assessment (BCA), the provincial government agency responsible for classifying and assessing BC real property. BCA has a database of close to 2 million properties.
BCA’s estimate of value is current to the previous July 1, which means values may lag by six months. To update values, BCA appraisers may not visit every property. Instead BCA uses a mass appraisal system to calculate property value, looking at:
- lot size
- house type
- square footage
- type of heating
- other structures such as a garage
2. A Realtor determines the value of a property by scrutinizing the most recent comparable market data for homes sold in a neighbourhood using the MLS®. A Realtor also physically examines the exterior and the interior of a property, architectural styles, renovations, views, landscaping and neighbourhood zoning.
Where every lot and every home on a street is generally the same, both BCA’s estimate of value and a Realtor's estimate of value will be similar. Differences occur depending on the time of year, whether the home is unique, and if there are features such as views.