The value of housing dipped slightly in Langley City, and rose a small amount in the Township, according to BC Assessment.
The annual release of the assessed values of property showed that across much of the Fraser Valley, values declined slightly for houses, apartments, and townhouses.
“Most homes in the Fraser Valley are remaining stable compared to last year’s assessment roll,” said John Green, a deputy assessor for the Fraser Valley. “Most home owners throughout the Fraser Valley will see minimal changes in the value of their properties.”
Despite some declines, the amount of real estate assessed increased, because of new subdivisions, according to Green. From a total value of $87.5 billion in 2012, this year’s rolls increased to $89 billion.
In Langley City, the average single family house was assessed at $465,000 in 2011. The 2012 assessment was $461,000.
Strata condos dropped from $206,000 to $197,000, and strata townhouses from $206,000 to $198,000.
Neighbouring communities saw similar declines, with drops in Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, and Mission for some or all types of housing.
Langley Township was one of the few areas to see no declines.
Mayor Jack Froese said he hoped it was just because of the popularity of the Township as a place to live.
“We’re increasing by 2,000 people a year here,” Froese said.
In 2012, the average assessed value for a house was $515,000 in the Township, that rose to $519,000 for 2013.
Strata condos stayed the same at $191,000, and townhouses rose slightly from $217,000 to $220,000.
Over the next week, the Township officials will be looking over the detailed data and will be able to see whether the assessments are markedly different from one neighbourhood to another. It’s not uncommon for one part of Langley to be up and another part to be down in a given year.
Froese pointed out that last year Fort Langley, with the recent development in Bedford Landing, was the neighbourhood that went up sharply.
The area of increased assessment this year might be the Willoughby neighbourhood, which has been developing rapidly for the last several years, adding numerous developments from small projects of two or three houses to large blocks of condos or townhouses.
Assessments are carried out over the summer and autumn, and usually changes reflect the way the real estate market is moving.
The general range in Langley and its Fraser Valley neighbours was about five per cent, either positive or negative. Some communities, such as Surrey and White Rock, saw greater volatility, with changes as much as 15 per cent.
City Mayor Peter Fassbender said that it’s not surprising to see a downward trend in assessments.
“If it’s down, it’s because the market has kind of flattened out,” Fassbender said.
Although the assessments are based on research done in July and October, the big decline in home sales in the Lower Mainland hit about four months ago, starting in September.
Sales dropped sharply and from September to November were much lower than in the same months in 2011.
However, prices declined only slightly or stayed stable over the same period, at least in the area around Langley.
Fassbender said the slight declines in assessments should help stabilize taxes for City residents.
Typically, sharp changes in taxes are only seen for those whose assessments are very different from the average in their community.
If a home’s value goes up by more than the average, it means a faster increase in taxes paid for the coming year. A decline in value can reduce taxes slightly.
Property owners can appeal their assessments by contacting BC Assessment at 1-866-825-8322 or at www.bcassessment.ca.
Every year, at least a few local residents appeal their assessments either because they have shot up sharply, or have dropped dramatically.