Real Estate Market has exceptional year

Friday, January 17th, 2003

Property value in Vancouver rose by 10 per cent on average with some up to 75 per cent

Frances Bula

A boom in construction last year pushed Vancouver‘s total property value up by $6 billion, the biggest increase in a decade.

Vancouver‘s property value now totals $86 billion, after an exceptional year that saw not only the construction boom but a significant increase in general property values.

Property value throughout the city rose by 10 per cent on average, with pockets or types of properties that went higher than that, some up to 75 per cent, David Highfield of the B.C. Assessment Authority told Vancouver city councillors Thursday. Raw land for development, land zoned for big-box stores, character houses, waterfront view properties, Gastown and the Punjabi market on Main Street were a few areas that saw increases even higher than the average.

“Considerable demand for large development sites has market value increases upwards of 20 per cent in False Creek North [Concord Development Lands], Bayshore and Coal Harbour areas,” said the report Highfield presented to council.

“Sales of large development sites in the Downtown South area has increased land values in the area of 40 per cent with some extremes as high as 75 per cent.”

Added to that, the city saw $1.3 billion worth of new buildings added to its property roll, almost double the amount of new construction that Vancouver had in 2000. More than 1,700 new properties were added to the city’s tax roll.

Only a few areas saw property values decrease. Among them were city hotels, which had higher than usual vacancy rates, and the Downtown Eastside and Victory Square.

Around the Lower Mainland, the story is much the same.

Mark Katz, area assessor for Richmond, Surrey and Delta, said increases have been in the seven to 15-per-cent range.

Kash Kang, area assessor for Burnaby, Port Coquitlam and other communities in the Fraser Valley, said the only exception has been commercial and industrial property.

“It appears that we’re seeing a much more active market than we’ve seen in nine or 10 years,” said Highfield. “It’s not just a question of property-value increase.”

Vancouver now has 80,000 single-family homes, 55,000 stratas,

The city’s finance director, Ken Bayne, said that he hasn’t done all the analysis yet on how an individual taxpayer’s taxes will be affected. But he said property owners whose properties increased in value by about the average rate of 10 per cent probably won’t see a change. Those whose land went up by much more than the average will see their taxes increase more than the general tax increase council decides on in March.

© Copyright  2003 Vancouver Sun

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