Property values remain stable in Shuswap

Local economy influences relatively static property assessments.

Stable is how BC Assessment deputy assessor Jason Sowinski describes housing values for the Shuswap in 2015.

BC Assessment has released its annual appraisal of properties in the province, and owners can expect their notice to arrive in the mail if they haven’t received it already.

For the Shuswap, Sowinski said property assessment values saw minimal change – between minus five and plus five per cent – over the year prior. This contrasts with properties in the Okanagan, especially along the Okanagan Lake commuter corridor, where assessed values increased up to 10 per cent.

Assessments are estimates of a property’s current market value, and Sowinski notes, though sales numbers have increased in Sicamous and Salmon Arm, product demand isn’t the same as in larger North Okanagan municipalities.

“I know some of the higher-level housing in both of those communities (Sicamous and Salmon Arm), they’re still in demand…,” commented Sowinski. “But it’s not like Kelowna and Vernon, where it’s driven more by the up-tick in the local economies.”

Doug Hubscher, a Shuswap realtor and director with the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB), has a slightly different perspective on local market activity. For 2014, OMREB saw “an upswing in consumer demand the strongest in seven years.” Sales activity was strongest in the Shuswap, with a 28 per cent increase in residential sales over 2013.

Property values on residential sales only increased by 5.7 per cent, however, which Hubscher said is “relative to what we’re seeing from BC Assessment.”

If the current sales trend continues in the Shuswap, influenced by a decline in market inventory of lower-priced homes ($250,000 to $300,000), Hubscher says it’s likely property values will continue to increase.

“I’m cautiously optimistic… that sales activity is going to be translated into an upward movement of prices,” said Hubscher. “I’m cautious about it because I don’t think it’s going to be leaps and bounds.

Property owners concerned about their assessment may contact an appraiser and, if still unsatisfied, may appeal by submitting a notice of complaint to BC Assessment by Feb. 2. Appeals are reviewed by an independent property assessment review panel. For more information, visit www.bcassessment.ca, or call 1-866-825-8322.