Whistler property assessments rise again, Pemberton, Squamish assessments soar 

If you thought Whistler’s record-setting real estate market was dropping off, think again.

The provincial property assessments are out and the numbers show that real estate prices in Whistler increased again last year. But for the first time ever the markets to the north and south of Whistler have far outstripped price increases in the resort.

Whistler has seen comparatively modest increases from July 2002 to July 2003, which is the assessment time frame. The assessment increases are more in line with what’s happening in urban areas throughout the province.

The big price increases this year are in Pemberton and Squamish, places that are now riding Whistler’s coattails in real estate success.

"Whistler isn’t the price leader even in the valley," said Area Assessor David Highfield with the B.C. Assessment Authority.

"Pemberton and Squamish have picked up the torch."

Property assessments have recently been mailed to all property owners in the corridor. Whistler owners will find that most properties have increased in assessed value but not as much as they did last year.

For example, a single family home in Alpine Meadows that was assessed at $890,000 in July 2002, sold for $1.16 million in April 2003. That’s a 13 per cent increase. This contrasts drastically with last year’s average increases in Alpine, which reached up to 60 per cent.

Similar price assessments applied to single family homes in Creekside, where a home that was assessed at $900,000 in July 2002, sold for $1.1 million in April 2003. That’s a 12 per cent increase.

"That’s not atypical for what was going on in Whistler," said Highfield.

He was hesitant to give an overall percentage increase for Whistler properties because each home, condo and commercial building can vary in value.

"I would prefer not to talk about an overall percentage because it’s so misleading," said Highfield.

"It just doesn’t apply to different property types and different houses."

Condominiums and townhouses in Whistler also increased in assessed value. The example provided by the Assessment Authority shows a Whistler condo increasing by 11 per cent.

Commercial properties saw a bigger price increase compared to any other real estate, with some properties jumping as much as 20 to 30 per cent.

Highfield said the best way to convey the change in real estate is to look at the assessment roll, which is the total real estate value in the community, including new projects and commercial real estate.

Whistler’s assessment roll has increased from $8.7 billion in 2002 to $9.88 billion in 2003, which is close to 13.5 per cent. Last year’s assessment roll increased by close to 34 per cent.

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