By now, homeowners around British Columbia have likely already received their property assessments courtesy of BC Assessment, and although they don't mean as much as many may think when it comes to a home's market value, they do play a key role in determining the amount of property tax a homeowner has to pay.
An increase in the assessed value of your property is not a guarantee that you'll be paying more in taxes, but what could cause higher payments is if municipalities raise their tax rate -- something many municipalities, including in big cities like Vancouver and Surrey, are currently discussing during their budget deliberations.
On Monday, ahead of a potential rate increases, Zoocasa published a compilation of property tax rates across the province, with data sourced from municipal websites. The findings provide interesting insights into how much British Columbians all across the province are having to fork over every year in property tax.
Powell River, Kamloops, and Nanaimo led the province with the highest property tax rates, with rates of 0.671150%, 0.603820%, and 0.600870%, respectively. They're also the only three municipalities in BC with a rate over 0.60%. Rounding out the top five were Campbell River and Central Saanich, with rates of 0.562082% and 0.452785%. Notably, a majority of the cities with the highest rates are those on Vancouver Island.
On the other end of the spectrum were Whistler, Vancouver, Surrey, and Burnaby, which had rates of just 0.235900%, 0.269293%, 0.280324%, and 0.284280%. This doesn't come as a total surprise, as property taxes tend to be lowest in bigger cities, thanks to the abundance of residents and higher home values.
Property tax rates across BC municipalities. (Zoocasa)
But property tax rates are only half of the equation. (Literally.) An equal, or perhaps even larger, factor is the property value, which often has noticeable differences from region to region.
Whistler, Burnaby, and Vancouver, for example, have some of the highest average home prices in BC, but the average amount of property tax homeowners in those municipalities pay ended up somewhere in the middle of the pack, as a result of having some of the lower tax rates in the province. The aforementioned municipalities with the highest property tax rates in BC also ended up near the middle, as a result of lower home prices.
The City that has it the worst, however, is Saanich, where homeowners pay an average of $4,275.74 in property tax, as a result of both the tax rate and average home price being on the higher end.
Second was Coquitlam on the Lower Mainland, where the average amount of property tax paid was $4,095.22, as a result of a middle-of-the-pack tax rate and a higher-end average home price.
Third was Victoria, our province's capital, where the average property tax amount was $4,071.40, also due to both the tax rate and average home price being on the higher side.
Saanich, Coquitlam, and Victoria were the only three municipalities in BC to see an average property tax amount above $4,000. Most municipalities had an average amount between $3,000 and $4,000, with some municipalities in more rural regions under $3,000.
But the municipality that has it the best? That would be Surrey, with one of the lowest average property tax payments in the province, while also being the second-largest municipality. However, that could soon change as the City may see a significant property tax rate increase depending on how the saga with its transition to the Surrey Police Service concludes, with Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke having raised the possibility of a 55% tax hike. Many are skeptical the hike would be that high, but it's safe to say it won't be staying the same or decreasing.