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REPORTING · 15th January 2014
Walter McFarlane
Housing assessments came out at the beginning of the month and Kitimat Residents were surprised to discover the average house went up 26%. We talked to Shannon Dos Santos and Remax about why this happened and District of Kitimat staff about how this would affect taxes.

“Our actual sale pricing is up far more than the assessed values. The assessments, which are up are averaging 27%, […] but different segments of our market here are a lot different. Our bungalow market is up 100% year over end and the higher market between 35% and 40%. When you average that out, we are up a 56% increase in residential housing, according to sales,” said Shannon Dos Santos.

As of Tuesday, January 7th, Remax had 7 houses on the market which did not have buyers. Houses typically sell within one or two days, and the longest they will sit on the market is a couple of weeks. Remax has a pool of buyers. There are investors from Calgary, Vancouver, Asia. The investors Clients purchase 10-20 properties and then rent them out. The Bungalows are renting for $2000 a month.

The average home in Kitimat is worth about $280,000. A 1950’s bungalow, three bedrooms and a bathroom sells for $240,000, detached housing goes for $200,000 and the higher end market is getting close to $400,000. Duplexes are around $190,000. Mobile Trailers are the lowest around $42,000.

“We need listings, it’s a sellers’ market and we need the listings to come in,” said Dos Santos.

“It’s very difficult for the younger generation to get in if they are not prepared to buy into a market which is increasing steadily, it is continuing to go up,” said Dos Santos. She said there are a lot of people who are trying to get in, before turning to their second option, renting. However, she also stated rents are higher than a mortgage.

What do the assessments mean for taxes? The District of Kitimat explained in a public statement they calculate and send out tax notices annually, in May.

“Property owners pay a budgetary increase or decrease each year to each authority, based on their assessed property value. The District of Kitimat apportions the taxes between the different tax classes (of which residential is one class, while the taxes within a class are apportioned by assessed value as calculated by BC assessment. Since the assessed values go up or down relative to the average increase, taxes can also increase or decrease,” read the statement.

They explained the change in assessments is reduced by the Flat Tax. This accounts for around 62% of the Municipal Residential Tax.

An example provided by Deputy CAO Warren Waycheshen, in 2013, residential taxes made up 16.45% of all of the property classes in 2013 or $6,120,183. Of this, $4,282,076 was affected by assessed values.