The average waterfront properties in Youbou have risen in value a whopping 28 per cent from last year, according to BC Assessment, the highest increase in the Cowichan Valley.
Youbou’s average waterfront properties are now assessed at approximately $2,155,000 as of July 1, 2022, compared to $1,680,000 last year.
In the assessments released in January, 2022, waterfront properties in Youbou saw a 19 per cent increase in value from the previous year, making the increase a total of 47 per cent in two years.
The community of Youbou itself had an increase in the price of the average single-family home of 12 per cent, from $572,000 last year to $640,000 in 2023, according BC Assessment.
At 26 per cent, waterfront properties in Honeymoon Bay and Mesachie Lake saw the second highest jump in the Valley from last year.
Those properties had an increase from $1,476,000 last year to $1,857,000 currently.
In January, 2022, the average waterfront property in Honeymoon Bay and Mesachie Lake had a 12 per cent increase in value, so the total increase over two years is 38 per cent.
The average single-family homes in the communities of Honeymoon Bay and Mesachie Lake rose 24 per cent from last year; from $548,000 to $680,000.
Karen Deck, the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s director for Youbou/Meade Creek, said she believes the reason assessments for lakeside property in her area are so high is because Cowichan Lake is beautiful all day every day, so it’s not a surprise that people who have the means and want a retirement home, recreational home or who work from home would desire lakefront property.
She said assessments reflect the competitive real estate market.
“Ultimately, there are repercussions for property owners and taxpayers in the community who are already challenged with inflated costs for food, complications from supply chain issues and ongoing COVID-19 problems,” Deck said.
“It also becomes more and more difficult for middle-income wage earners to attain affordable housing. Diversity is one indicator of a healthy environment, and a community’s ability to create a diverse, affordable, and attainable housing market is no exception.”
Ian Morrison, the CVRD’s director for Area F, which includes Honeymoon Bay and Mesachie Lake, said a number of factors have come into play that have seen assessments rise so significantly in his area.
He said some properties have sold for very high prices over the last few years, and BC Assessment takes that into consideration when evaluating neighbouring properties.
As well, Morrison said there has been little waterfront development in his area recently so almost no new housing inventory has been added and supply and demand has come into play, making existing properties more valuable.
“There has also been enhancements to the area, like Laketown Ranch, that have seen increased traffic coming here,” he said,
“Basically, we’ve been discovered and that is playing a part in these high assessments. But a lot of homes around Lake Cowichan are still affordable and less expensive than many in other places in the Cowichan Valley, like ones in Mill Bay and Chemainus.”
As for the potential of higher property taxes in 2023 in Area F as a result of the higher assessments, Morrison said he did everything he could do last year to keep the tax requisition down while maintaining services, and he will do the same again this year.
He said there has been discussion at the board table about big tax increases that could be as high as more than 12 per cent in the CVRD’s preliminary budget for 2023 in some areas of the district, but he’s predicting Area F will be at the far low end of that.
“BC Assessment’s numbers are problematic, but we’ll be benefiting from the new funding formula for regional recreation so, while we’ll likely have a tax increase, it will not be as large as some of the other areas,” Morrison said.
Vancouver Island deputy assessor Jodie MacLennan said homeowners across Vancouver Island can generally expect about a 10 per cent to 20 per cent rise in assessment values this year, with a few exceptions.
BC Assessment’s website at bcassessment.ca includes more details about 2023 assessments.
The website also provides self-service access to a free, online property assessment search that allows anyone to search, check and compare 2023 property assessments for anywhere in the province.
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