For immediate release

Record Home Prices for 2010


Vancouver, BC – January 13, 2011.

"Tighter credit conditions and expended pent-up demand curbed home sales during the first half of 2010," said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. "However, low mortgage interest rates and improved economic conditions buoyed home sales in the latter half of the year." MLS® residential unit sales declined 40 per cent January through July before climbing 43 per cent by the end of the year, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

"The inventory of homes for sale peaked at 53,375 units in May before declining 14 per cent to 46,000 units by December," added Muir. "The combination of fewer active listings and increased consumer demand has improved market conditions in many areas."

MLS® residential sales declined 25 per cent to 4,258 units in December from a near record level of 5,703 units in December 2009. After a 15 per cent increase in unit sales between October and November, a further 1 per cent increase was recorded in December on a seasonally adjusted basis. The average MLS® residential sales price was a record $523,990 in December, up 6 per cent from December 2009.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province declined 12 per cent to 74,640 units in 2010. The annual average MLS® residential price rose 8.5 per cent to a record $505,178 in 2010.

What are property taxes?
An annual local government tax levied on real property based on BC Assessment’s estimated market value. Local governments calculate the tax by dividing the annual budget by total assessed property values. In rural areas, the province assigns the tax rate. Rates vary among property classes: residential, business, light and heavy industry, farm, recreation, utility and managed forest land.

The assessed value of each property is typically determined annually by BC Assessment, as of the previous July 1.

Where do I find out what my property taxes are?
Look at your tax notice which was delivered by mail in late May or early June. You can also check your local government web site, which may have information. For example, the City of Vancouver has a property tax web page  where you can find your account balance. For information contact your local government tax office or BC OnLine.

What happens if I don’t get a tax notice?
You must pay whether or not you have received a notice. Contact your local government finance department and arrange for a duplicate notice. You must ensure that your local government and BC Assessment have your correct mailing address.

Five misconceptions about property taxes
1.  You can appeal property taxes. No. You can appeal your assessment, not your taxes. You annually receive your assessment the first week of January and must appeal by January 31.

2.  An appeal will change the market value. The market value may not correlate to the assessed value. BC Assessment typically assesses properties as of the previous July 1. A REALTOR® valuing a home now – 11 months later – may find the market has changed, the home has had an addition or the street has been re-zoned, all of which affect value.

3.  If you just bought a home, the previous owners are liable for taxes. No. When you buy a property you become liable for all outstanding taxes.

4.  New home owners can claim the Home Owner Grant. No. New home owners cannot claim the Home Owner Grant if the seller paid the taxes or if the new home owner claimed a grant on another property.

5.  You haven’t claimed your Home Owner Grant for a few years and you want to claim it all now. You’re out of luck. You can claim the grant amount only for the previous year.

What does your property tax bill include?

Municipal tax – is set by council and staff in the local government’s annual budget process and is based on revenue needs for infrastructure and services.

Regional district tax – is set by the regional districts for key services such as regional water and sewage treatment. For example, Metro Vancouver tells their local governments what their revenue needs are, and the local governments collect on their behalf. In rural areas, the province (Surveyor of Taxes) collects for regional districts.

School tax – is set by the BC Government to fund schools and varies by local government. It’s paid by residential and non-residential property owners.

Hospital tax – is set by the regional hospital districts to help partially fund local health facilities. For example, in Metro Vancouver hospitals are funded by the province, not by property taxes. Outside Metro Vancouver, hospital taxes are still levied.

Other taxes – are set by local taxing authorities and collected by the local government to fund BC Assessment, the Municipal Finance Authority and TransLink.

How to pay property taxes
Visit your local government’s web site for details on how to pay. Then check the due date on your tax notice, complete the Home Owner Grant application and then pay:

  online by you must first sign up for this free online Canada Post delivery service that lets you pay electronically. When you pay and claim your Home Owner Grant electronically, you’ll receive a receipt with a confirmation number
•  in person: take your tax notice and a credit or debit card, your cheque book, a certified cheque or cash to your local government finance department. Check business hours
•  at the drop box: located near the front entrance of most City Hall offices. There may be drop boxes in alternate locations as well
•  by mail: your payment must arrive at City Hall by the due date on your tax notice
•  at a financial institution: most banks and credit unions accept tax payments in person. You can also pay online or by phone through your bank or credit union. Remember to submit your Home Owner Grant form directly to City Hall
•  through your mortgage: your mortgage company can pay your property taxes on your behalf if you arrange for this service beforehand
•  by installments: check with your local government to see if prepayment options are offered.  

For an explanation of a sample property tax notice, click here.

If a home owner doesn't pay their property taxes

If a property owner doesn't pay their property taxes by the due date (check the tax notice), and doesn't submit the Home Owner Grant form by the due date, there are serious consequences.

The property owner will be charged a percentage of outstanding taxes as a penalty. If taxes are unpaid after three consecutive years, the property may be auctioned. Tax sale dates and processes can be found on local government web sites. 


Property owners throughout BC received their Property Assessment Notice the first week of January. This notice is BC Assessment’s (BCA) estimate of a property’s value as of July 1, 2010.

BC Assessment is the BC government agency responsible for determining and reporting property value estimates.
“The majority of homes in Metro Vancouver are worth more on this year’s assessment roll than they were on the 2010 assessment roll,” said Jason Grant, Area Assessor, Vancouver Sea to Sky region. “Most homes will see increases in the 5 per cent  to 15 per cent  range.”

Throughout Metro Vancouver values have substantially increased in most areas. They’re up 17.14 per cent in Richmond, 13.03 per cent in West Vancouver, 12.17 per cent in Vancouver, 12.07 per cent in Burnaby, 9.22 per cent in Delta, 9.12 per cent in Coquitlam, 9.11 per cent in New Westminster, 8.84 per cent in North Vancouver District, 8.78 in Port Coquitlam, 8.05 in North Vancouver City, and 7.58 per cent in Port Moody, 6.44 per cent in Pitt Meadows, 5.54 per cent in Maple Ridge and 1.99 per cent in Squamish.

Values decreased in Whistler 2.06 per cent and in Pemberton 1.87 per cent.

For specific details on changes in values, visit and go to Information about the 2011 roll and then the 2011 Market Movement Map.

How is property value determined?

To determine the value of the province’s 1.9 million properties, BCA appraisers review lot size, house type, age, condition, views, and outbuild¬ings such as sheds and garages.

They also look at whether the property has a lane, is on a busy street, is new construction or has been rezoned. 

Appeal an incorrect assessment

Property owners who disagree with their property assessment should do their homework by visiting and then e-valueBC to compare their assessment with those of their neighbours.

Property owners can phone BCA and talk to an area assessor who is authorized to make adjustments if an error is obvious, for example if BCA included a garage, when the garage had been torn down.

Area assessors’ phone numbers:

• 604-739-8588 for properties in Vancouver, North Shore and Squamish.
• 604-241-1361 for properties in Richmond and South Delta.
• 604-850-5900 for properties in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.
• 604-294-6441 for properties in Anmore, Belcarra, Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.

Appeal details are also on the back page of each assessment notice.

Property owners who aren’t satisfied with an area appraiser’s response, can complete an Online Notice of Complaint (Appeal) Form available on Go to For information on how to address concerns about your 2011 assessment.

The deadline to appeal is January 31, 2011 

The appeal will be heard by the Property Assessment Review Panel. If the property owner disagrees with the result, they can appeal to the Assessment Appeal Board. Appeal panels are independent of BCA, appointed annually by the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue and meet from February 1 – March 15 to hear complaints.

BC Assessment and a REALTOR’s® Assessment. Why the difference?

BCA’s assessment and the market value determined by a REALTOR® may be different. Why? Where every lot and every home on a street are generally the same, both BCA’s value and the REALTOR’s® value will be similar during stable market conditions.

Differences occur in neigh¬bourhoods where lots are differ¬ent shapes and sizes, where each home’s architecture is unique, every view is distinct and when property owners make changes such as renovations after July 1 that BCA has not yet taken into account. 

Property assessment and taxation: what’s the connection?

While BCA determines the assessed value of property for tax purposes, it’s the local taxing authorities – both provincial and local governments – which set tax rates each Spring according to budget requirements.

The formula for calculating taxes on property is:  (tax rate x assessed value /1,000)

For example, if the tax rate for residential property is 4.000, and property assessment is $1 million, then the taxes payable would be $4,000.

No notice?

If a property owner hasn’t received an assessment notice by January 17, they should contact the area phone numbers listed above. 

If a property owner has concerns about their taxes, they should phone their local municipal tax office.

Stats and facts

• For the first time in BC history, the value of all real estate on the provincial assessment roll has surpassed $1 trillion – an increase of eight per cent compared to the 2010 value of $970 billion.

• A total of 1,902,875 properties province-wide were valued for the 2011 roll, an increase of 19,206 properties, or one per cent, compared to the 1,883,669 properties valued on the 2010 roll.

• BCA sent 2,066,261 assessment notices to BC property owners, an increase of 5.5 per cent from last year’s total of 1,957,440. (Note: properties may have multiple owners who each receive an assessment notice.)  


Real estate market stable at year-end

The Greater Vancouver residential housing market entered three distinctive phases in 2010. Continued buoyancy from the post-recession recovery began the year, followed by a summer lull and, throughout the fall, a sustained period of stability.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that total sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in 2010 reached 30,595, a 14.2 per cent decrease from the 35,669 sales recorded in 2009, but a 24.2 per cent increase from the 24,626 residential sales in 2008. Last year’s number of housing sales was 10.3 per cent below the ten-year average for annual Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales in the region.

The number of residential properties listed for sale on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver increased 9.7 per cent in 2010 to 58,009 compared to the 52,869 properties listed in 2009. Compared to 2008, last year’s total represents a 7.3 per cent decline compared to the 62,561 residential properties listed in 2008. The number of properties added to the MLS® peaked in April and generally declined for the remainder of the year.

“The last two years have been a bit of a rollercoaster for the real estate market. However, sales over the past six months have definitely shown a trend toward stability. We think that’s good news for home buyers and sellers,” Jake Moldowan, REBGV president said. “The Greater Vancouver housing market experienced a modest increase in home prices in 2010, and a continual decrease in the number of properties being listed for sale.”

Residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,899 in December 2010, a decrease of 24.5 per cent from the 2,515 sales recorded in December 2009—an all time record for the month—and a 24.3 per cent decline compared to November 2010 when 2,509 home sales occurred. 

More broadly, last month’s residential sales represent a 105.5 per cent increase over the 924 residential sales in December 2008, a 0.1 per cent increase compared to December 2007’s 1,897 sales, and a 12.6 per cent increase compared to the 1,686 sales in December 2006.

The residential benchmark price, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, for Greater Vancouver increased 2.7 per cent to $577,808 between Decembers 2009 and 2010. However, prices have decreased 2.6 per cent since hitting a peak of $593,419 in April 2010.

“Although we saw some pressure on home prices throughout the year, home values in 2010 remained relatively steady in the region compared to the last few years when we witnessed much more fluctuation,” Moldowan said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,699 in December 2010. This represents a 21.1 per cent decline compared to the 2,153 units listed in December 2009 and a 43.9 per cent decline compared to November 2010 when 3,030 properties were listed.

Sales of detached properties in December 2010 reached 769, a decrease of 14.8 per cent from the 902 detached sales recorded in December 2009, and a 121.1 per cent increase from the 348 units sold in December 2008. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 4.0 per cent from December 2009 to $797,868.

Sales of apartment properties reached 811 in December 2010, a decline of 29.7 per cent compared to the 1,154 sales in December 2009, and an increase of 94.5 per cent compared to the 417 sales in December 2008.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 1.2 per cent from December 2009 to $387,115.

Attached property sales in December 2010 totalled 319, a decline of 30.5 per cent compared to the 459 sales in December 2009, and a 100.6 per cent increase from the 159 attached properties sold in December 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 2.7 per cent between December 2009 and 2010 to $490,869.