Homeowners receiving their B.C. property assessments in the mail last week may have noticed their property values are down a small amount from last year.
Single family homes in Abbotsford that were assessed at $425,000 last year, are assessed at $420,000 for 2013.
All properties are assessed as of July 1 of the previous year, so the 2013 assessment had a valuation date of July 1, 2012.
Deputy assessor John Green of BC Assessment Fraser Valley said that people should not be concerned.
"The market was relatively stable for properties but has softened a bit since July 1," he said. "I believe that most property owners in the Fraser Valley will see little change over last year."
He estimates the difference is less than five per cent and said "it's hard to put an exact figure on this."
In Abbotsford, apartment figures were $180,000, down from $186,000 the year before and townhomes remained unchanged at $269,000.
In Mission, homes (single family dwellings) stayed the same at $338,000 while apartments fell to $173,000 from $178,000 and townhouses dropped a bit to $234,000 from $240,000 in 2012.
Single family homes throughout the Fraser Valley also dropped a bit with Langley recording $461,000 (down from $465,000 in 2012), Maple Ridge at $438,000 (down from $441,000 in 2012), Pitt Meadows at $492,000 (down from $503,000 in 2012) and Chilliwack unchanged at $338,000.
According to a BC Assessment press release, changes in property assessments reflect movement in the local real estate market and can vary greatly from property to property. When estimating a property's market value, BC Assessment's professional appraisers analyze current sales in the area, as well as considering other characteristics such as size, age, quality, condition, view and location.
"The cause is not important, but we followed what's happening in the market," said Green. But he added people tend to be a little bit worried about the equity in their property.
The good news though is that first-time buyers can buy more now than they could back in July he said.
Green advises that when folks get their assessments, they should review them immediately.
"Property owners who feel that their assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2012 should visit www.bcassessment.ca for answers to common questions, or to find comparable sales and assessment information," said Green.
"If they see incorrect information or have further questions, they should contact us as soon as possible."
Homeowners have about three weeks to submit a complaint.
"If a property owner is still concerned about their assessment after speaking to one of our appraisers, they may submit a Notice of Complaint [appeal] by Jan. 31, for an independent review by a Property Assessment Review Panel," added Green.
-The Fraser Valley assessment office is located at suite 240, 31935 South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. During the month of January, office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Property owners can contact BC Assessment toll-free at 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322) or via www.bcassessment.ca.