What’s the deal with BC Assessments and Vancouver property values?

Did you know assessments are conducted in July of the previous year?

It’s almost that time of year when BC assessments are conducted – not released – but the information is gathered for the release of the values in 2021. That all makes perfect sense right? Assessments conducted and prices rolled out 6+ months later? Not exactly… but that’s how Vancouver and the Lower Mainland tend to roll these out.

Every year when the values are released, our team is flooded with questions from our clients: “Why is my house worth so much less now?”, “Why do these values not line up with what places are selling for right now?”, “This must be a great/awful time to buy/sell.”, etc.

The Vancouver market is predominantly quite stable but the past few years have shown some decreases and increases anywhere +/-15% and it confuses the public when assessments are rolled out and not quite reflective of the current status of the market.

Why these assessments aren’t always correct…and why it’s important to work with a Realtor that knows proper and current values…

1. It’s automated – the values are put together by a computerized system. The data isn’t based on specific appraisals done by Realtors or Appraisers. The computer predicts values based on patterns not on actual hard and relevant data.

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2. They look for patterns. Think about the last time you searched something such as “Vancouver Restaurant” on Instagram, added that new restaurant you wanted to try (because hey, we’re finally seeing some of our favorite spots open again in Vancouver amidst the COVID-19 changes to social distancing), and then every time you open up Instagram, you’re seeing this restaurant and 5 others that are constantly reminding you to (support local) eat out!; the same thing happens when it comes to the system put in place for property assessments. The numbers are based on algorithms.

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3. Important aspects that give the property a uniqueness are completely missed. The house is on a beautifully tree-lined street in East Vancouver and was built by one of Vancouver’s top architect firms and includes a $200,000 appliance package. Think that was picked up by the algorithm/computers? What about the fact that the house has an unbelievable view of the North Shore or a backyard that has been remodeled in the past year to include a studio and new garage?

These same issues that are found with the valuations provided by BC Assessments are also part of the problem with clicking on “find out NOW what your home is worth” on sites such as Zillow and Redfin. These sites can help give the public a quick idea of what their property might be worth, but the exact value? Doubtful.


Wondering what your Vancouver home is worth? Or wondering why the assessment came out differently than expected? Give us a call. You’ll quickly understand why we’re in the top 1% of Vancouver Real Estate teams and why our listings are consistently selling close (if not over) ask price and how we help our buyers purchase properties for the values they are worth!


P.S. I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy during this crazy COVID-19 Pandemic. We’re still busy hustling (safely) and always here to answer your Vancouver Real Estate questions.



Ayla White

[email protected]

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