An expanding international profile is one of the contributing factors in Whistler having the highest increase in property assessments in the province. A 30-40 per cent increase in Whistler residential land values is projected this year by the B.C. Assessment Authority, said area assessor Calvin Smyth. "Whistler is definitely a special market," Smyth said. "Whistler has become very international, similar to Vancouver." A typical Whistler lot — and there aren’t many — costs $240,000. Projected increases on single family houses in Alpine Meadows and Emerald Estates are between 20 and 25 per cent, with houses in other parts of the valley forecast to increase 15-20 per cent. Smyth said condominium assessments are up 15-35 per cent and commercial property in the village is up 20-30 per cent. Other commercial properties are up 5-10 per cent. Smyth said the dramatic increases in assessments are due to a number of factors: the tremendous amount of development in recent years, the resort’s international profile, Whistler’s proximity to Vancouver and its booming popularity as a place to live. He does not feel the ceiling on development has had an impact on assessments, yet. "I don’t think it’s affecting prices now, because there’s been so much recent development," Smyth said. The assessment authority estimates the value of properties annually. Municipal governments use the information to calculate property taxes, but Smyth noted that the projected increases in assessment do not translate directly to tax increases. Whistler is the hottest real estate market in the province, by the assessment authority’s projections. The average value of a single-family home in Greater Vancouver has increased less than 5 per cent, while the average Vancouver condominium is worth 5 per cent less than a year ago. The preliminary numbers are based on assessments done July 1 of this year. They will be used for the 1997 assessment role. Assessment notices will be mailed in December.

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