VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – BC property owners are finding out how valuable their home or business is and how much they may be charged in property taxes.  The 2012 property assessments will soon arrive in the mail for nearly two million British Columbians.

The assessment helps determine how much property tax you will be charged during the year.  

“Almost all homes in [Vancouver] are increasing in value compared to last year’s assessment roll.  Most single-family homeowners in Vancouver will see significant increases; in the 10 per cent to 25 per cent range.  Strata condominium owners will also see increases, but typically less than 10 per cent,” says assessor Jason Grant.

Overall, Vancouver’s assessment increased from $222 billion last year to $254 billion this year.  A total of almost $2.3 billion of the growth is thanks to new construction, subdivisions, and rezoning.

Some homes in West Vancouver and Richmond saw similar large-value increases.

Single-family homes in North Vancouver will see an increase between five and 10 per cent while folks in West Vancouver will see a jump of 15 to 30 per cent.  You can also compare your property to your neighbours and file an appeal if you think your assessment is unfair.

Home values in Surrey, Burnaby, New Westminster and the Tri-cities are up in general while houses in the Fraser Valley stayed about the same.  Assessed home values did drop in Whistler and Pemberton.

“Having your assessment go up doesn’t mean a property tax increase unless your local government wants to spend more money,” notes Tsur Somerville with UBC’s Sauder School of Business.  “Because they kind of work backwards, which is ‘How much do we want to spend and then how do we divide it up?’”

“However, it does seem like most local governments happily increase their expenditures every year, and that’s part of the reason why your property taxes go up every year,” he says.  “The percentage that it goes up only matters if yours goes up more than other people in your area.”

British Columbians who own homes worth up to $1.285 million may be eligible to receive the entire homeowners’ grant this year, after the province raised the threshold to accommodate rising property values.

As the assessments arrive in mailboxes across the province, British Columbians brace for higher Medical Service Premiums, a two-cent increase in the gas tax to help pay for transit and an average ICBC rate hike of $27 per driver.

Taxpayers are also facing higher Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance deductions.