Real estate values dip 

Down two per cent

Most Whistler homeowners will see decreases in the assessed values of their homes this year as real estate around the province continues to boom.

On average, real estate was down 2 per cent in the resort, while provincially it jumped up 14 per cent.

And just as Pemberton rode Whistler’s coattails in the real estate frenzy prior to the Olympics, it too is seeing a downward trend this year.

"For the first time in many years the assessed values in Whistler and Pemberton are trending downward," said Jason Grant, area assessor for the Vancouver Sea to Sky Region for B.C. Assessment. "Most homes on this year’s assessment roll are worth slightly less than they were on the 2005 assessment roll."

Examples provided by Grant highlight the downward trend, which is affecting properties across the board, from single-family homes to village condos and neighbourhood townhouses.

A single-family home in Whistler Cay Heights, assessed at $2,427,000 in July 2004 was assessed at $2,354,000 in July 2005.

Likewise a two-bedroom apartment in the village valued at $660,000 in 2004 was valued at $620,000 a year later.

The biggest indicator of the downward trends is Whistler’s assessment roll, or the combined assessed value of all real estate in the market, including new subdivisions, rezoning and new construction.

That roll, which only three years ago leapt upwards from $6.5 billion to $8.7 billion, has for the first time in many years actually decreased.

The roll was $10.3 billion last year and is now $10.07 billion, a decrease of roughly 2 per cent.

Across the province however the assessment roll increased by 14 per cent, from $580 billion to $660 billion.

Grant said assessment increases in Vancouver and the North Shore were in the range of 10 to 20 per cent.

"Clearly this year Whistler is in a counter trend to the rest of Vancouver and certainly the North Shore," he said.

"Whistler historically has experienced many years of growth that other Vancouver and North Shore municipalities are now experiencing."

The assessments do not come as a surprise to Mike Wintemute, general manager of RE/MAX Sea to Sky Real Estate, but he said the decreases are not significant.

"Our market peaked in 2002 and it’s been basically pretty steady since then price wise," said Wintemute.

"I don’t think the change in the price is significant enough to say that it’s softened."

He attributes the flat market to the lower number of guests and also because Whistler saw large housing increases in the years leading up to the 2003 Olympic announcement.

Assessment notices have been sent out to more than 14,000 residents in Whistler.

B.C. Assessment does not create the assessed value of the real estate; rather, it is the market that determines the value of a property and the assessment authority reports that value to the property owner and the taxing authority.

Any property owner concerned about their assessment can submit a request for an independent review by the end of the month.

To check out assessments by address, as well as sales that have occurred in the months around the July 1, 2005 valuation date, go to www.bcassessment.ca.

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