Understanding Your Property Tax Assessment: Exposing the Myths & Misconceptions of Tax Assessed Value to Empower Home Owners

Property owners will be receiving their new 2017 property tax assessments in the mail over the next few days. Every January I receive dozens of calls regarding these property tax assessments, as there are two common myths or misconceptions: a) my tax assessed value is market value of my home; b) if my property assessed value increases, so do my taxes.

The Property Tax: How It All Began

Property taxes have been around since the Roman Emperor Augustus brought in the first property tax almost 20 centuries ago. Today property tax is the financial backbone of local government all over North America, and is the source of most of the funds that pay for police, fire, local road and sewer, and other municipal services. These services vary from community to community.
All of us should pay our fair share for these services. The problem arises when the property tax is applied unfairly, causing some people to pay more than they should.

How the Property Tax Works

The property tax is based on what the government thinks your real property – the buildings and land you own – is worth. The key word here is “thinks.” In principle, it works quite simply:
• Tax assessors calculate what they think is the fair market value of every property in the municipality. In some municipalities, they do this every year. In others, it can be years between assessments.

• The municipal government makes up its budget for the year. It divides that budget into the total assessed value of all the properties in the municipality. The result is what is called the “mill rate.” This mill rate is expressed as so many dollars of taxes per year per $1,000 of assessed property value.

• You can appeal the assessed value of your property, but not the property tax itself. Once you have accepted the assessor’s opinion of your property’s assessed value, the calculation of the actual property tax is automatic.
In other words, you can’t appeal your “taxes”. You can only appeal the government’s assessment of your property’s value. If you think the assessment is too high, you must produce evidence that shows the assessors made a mistake.

Assessments, Mill Rates and Taxes: How They Work

• Assume your municipality has a budget of $1.5 million this year.

• Assume the total assessment of all properties in your municipality is $750 million.

• In this case, the mill rate will be $1.5 million divided by $750 million, or 20 mills. (In other words, $20 of tax per $1,000 of assessment).

• If your property is assessed at $100,000, then your property tax will be $100,000 times 20 mills per thousand dollars of value, or $2,000 per year.

How Do They Determine “Assessed Value”?

The actual value of buildings and land fluctuates and depends on many factors. To estimate a value for tax purposes, the government employs Tax Assessors. These officials produce an “assessment” of the value of your property based upon the price they think your property would fetch if it were sold in the open market at a fair market price.

This doesn’t mean that the Assessor comes out each year and checks your house to see what he thinks it’s worth. Instead, to try and stay current, assessors feed market information into a computer that compares similar properties and calculates a blanket appraisal by certain date. These mass appraisals are usually done by comparing information about your property to similar properties recently sold in your neighbourhood or town.

In addition to these “mass appraisals”, assessors get information about your property from other government departments. For example, if you apply for a building permit to build a garage, the local government department forwards the details to the assessment authority, who include the value of your new garage when appraising your property’s value.

In British Columbia, the provincial assessment authority appraises properties based on the previous year’s sales from July 1st to June 30th, which means that by the time you get your new property tax assessment in early January, it will be at least 6 to 18 months out of date. Tax assessed values have no relation to current market value.

If Your Assessment Goes Up, Must Your Taxes Go Up?

Not necessarily. Let’s say the municipal government kept its spending flat this year. Let’s also assume that everyone in town received a higher property assessment (perhaps a new industry was opening nearby, and land prices went up). In a case like this, no one’s taxes would rise, because the mill rate would drop by the same amount as the increase in the overall assessment. In other words, the higher assessment would be cancelled out by a lower mill rate.
Unfortunately, in the real world it seldom works this way. Most of the time, governments don’t hold the line on spending, they increase it. So, both the assessment and the mill rate raise.

Basic Home Owner Grant

The basic grant can reduce your property tax by as much as $570. The minimum tax payable ($350) ensures that all homeowners (or eligible occupants, which includes an eligible occupant of an eligible apartment, housing unit, land cooperative or multi-dwelling leased parcel) contribute towards the funding of local services such as road maintenance and police protection.
You may qualify for a reduced grant amount if your property value is more than $1,200,000. The grant amount is reduced by $5 for every $1,000 your property value is over $1,200,000. If your property value is $1,314,000 or more the grant amount will be reduced to $0.

If your property’s assessed value is over $1,200,000 but has more than one residence on it, you may still qualify for the home owner grant on one residence.

If you are over 65 years of age you will qualify for a higher home owner grant. Only your primary residence qualifies for a home owner grant. Your investment or recreational property does not qualify.

Consult with a Professional Realtor

If you are considering selling, call a professional Realtor you trust and consult with him/her. A professional Realtor will be able to prepare a current market evaluation and advise you of your property’s current market value. This is extremely important in a quickly moving and ever changing market. Don’t be taken advantage of by market savvy independent investors who may tempt you with saving a few dollars in real estate fees, but do not have your best interests in mind, are looking to prey on your lack of knowledge to pocket a bargain for themselves and make a fat profit with a quick resale (commonly known as “shadow flipping”). There is nothing illegal about flipping property. However, a professional Realtor has a fiduciary and legal duty to work in their client’s best interest, not their own. To be unrepresented, is to be unprotected. Protect yourself by being informed and by consulting with a professional Realtor, you can trust, to protect your savings and investments in real estate.

Ray Werger
Royal LePage West Real Estate Services
Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, Past President 2014
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Significant Price Increases on Detached Homes Create Domino Effect on Townhouse & Condo Sales

SURREY, BC – Consumer demand for real estate in the Fraser Valley continued through May, with overall sales once again reaching record-breaking numbers for the month historically.
The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 2,911 sales on its Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in May, an increase of 47.8 per cent compared to May 2015. The previous record for sales processed in a May was set in 2006 at 2,245. However, sales dropped two per cent when compared to April 2016, continuing a slight trend of easing off since sales peaked this spring at 3,006 sales in March.
Of the 2,911 sales processed in May, 615 were townhouses and 557 were apartments, representing a significant portion of May’s market activity and a large increase when compared to May 2015. Townhome transactions increased 56.1 per cent when compared to last year, and apartments reached even higher levels seeing a 112.6 per cent gain.
Charles Wiebe, President of the Board, said of this month’s market data, “Demand is tremendous, still, for detached homes in our region, but it’s encouraging to see that the upward pace of that demand is leveling off.
“However, we’re also seeing the ripple effects as consumers are looking to townhomes and apartments in record numbers. This year, so far, is the busiest those markets have ever been.”
The Board received 3,674 new listings in May, an increase of 22.9 per cent compared to May of last year, and a 6.8 per cent decrease from April 2016. The total active inventory for May was 5,752, down 32.4 per cent from last year’s 8,512 active listings.
Across Fraser Valley, the average number of days to sell a single family detached home in May 2016 was 16 days, compared to 31 days in May 2015.
The MLS® HPI benchmark price of a Fraser Valley single family detached home in May was $834,200, an increase of 38.3 per cent compared to May 2015 when it was $603,100.
In May, the benchmark price of townhouses was $365,000, an increase of 20.4 per cent compared to $303,100 in May 2015. The benchmark price of apartments also increased year-over-year by 17 per cent, going from $192,500 in May 2015 to $225,200 in May 2016.

Why guys like me are staying put in this “crazy” Real Estate Market

Many are wondering why prices of detached homes in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley have risen 28% to 30% over the past 6 months, since October 2015. Well, it may sound simple, but it’s a supply and demand market. Right now, there are many more people wanting to own detached homes than are willing to sell them.
As a middle aged boomer in my late 50’s who would love to capitalize on this rare real estate market windfall, here’s the sad truth. I’m stuck!
Sure the kids have grown up and left home and now the house and the yard are becoming a bit too big for our needs. But have you looked at the prices of townhouses lately? To me that’s the cruelest joke on us baby boomers yet. Why would a detached land owner like me, move into a strata property, so close to people I don’t know when the cost spread between detached homes and townhouses is so small. If you figure the average comfortable cost of living per family per year is say, $100,000, the savings incurred would evaporate within the first year.
My wife has another 5 years to retirement and I’m on the freedom 95 plan. She has an hour commute to her job in downtown Vancouver and we can’t move any further out right now. So we have two choices: a) take the pessimistic view, cash out and rent, while waiting for a doomsday apocalypse, or b) stay put and rest easy at night knowing we have a comfortable place to live of our own and an appreciating asset. We are going with option B.
But if you don’t have to stick around and would like a change of scenery, here’s 5 good reasons to sell right now:
1) You are retired and have been thinking of downsizing. While prices of detached homes have sky rocketed in the past 6 months, up 28% to 30% on average across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, townhouses have gone up a fraction of that and the spread has widened. Condo prices have remained relatively flat, so you’d do even better financially by moving into one of those.
2) You are retired or close to it and wish to move to the Island or the Okanagan. I envy you. Do it now!
3) You are a bit more than retired, you have been thinking of selling and going into an assisted living facility. Ponder no more, make the decision.
4) You have a job offer outside of Metro Vancouver & the Fraser Valley. Take it!
5) You can’t stand living with your life partner anymore. Here’s a chance to sell your property, split the windfall and each start a new life.
One thing I would not attempt in this market is to sell my existing detached home to buy another within the same area. You will most likely sell quickly and not be able to find another to suit you, unless you can afford to own two properties at the same time.
I’ve been helping folks buy and sell real estate for the past 24 years and you should always buy and sell for the right reasons, now more than ever.
If you have a good reason to sell, please give me a call, email or text me. I will give you the right advice at the right time. I would love to go to work on your behalf, when you are ready to make a move.

Ray Werger
Royal LePage West Real Estate Services
Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, Past President 2014
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Protecting & Promoting the Interests of my Clients since 1992


Record Sales for March 2016 in the Fraser Valley

News Release: April 4, 2016
SURREY, BC – Fraser Valley real estate hit a historical high in March, setting the record for sales processed in one month since the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s (FVREB) inception in 1921. .
In March, the FVREB processed 3,006 sales on its Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), an increase of 62 per cent compared to March 2015 and 26 per cent more then was processed in February. The previous record of 2,720 processed sales was set in March of 1991.
Charles Wiebe, President of the Board, said of this month’s statistics, “This market is uncharted territory for Fraser Valley real estate. It’s typical for spring to see a jump in activity; however, March came and went at a break-neck, record-setting pace. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“While I’m certainly encouraged that so many are finding their way to owning a home in the Fraser Valley, I know that it can also be challenging for first-time homebuyers and those looking to transition. Talk to a local REALTOR®, and discuss what you want and what’s possible for you. We can help you get there.”
The Board received 4,057 new listings in March, an increase of 31 per cent compared to March of last year, and a 24 per cent increase from February. The total active inventory for March was 5,485, down 33 per cent from last year’s 8,193 active listings.
Wiebe commented, “This is typically a busy time of year to buy and sell real estate, and those seeking homes are hungry to purchase. Unfortunately, inventory is struggling to keep up. With that said, if you’re thinking of selling your home, I encourage you to talk to a REALTOR® and consider your current opportunities. The market is in your favor.”
Across Fraser Valley, the average number of days to sell a single family detached home in March 2016 was 17 days, compared to 43 days in March 2015.
The MLS® HPI benchmark price of a Fraser Valley single family detached home in February was $741,000, an increase of 26 per cent compared to March 2015 when it was $588,500.
In March, the benchmark price of townhouses was $344,300, an increase of 14.9 per cent compared to $299,700 in March 2015. The benchmark price of apartments also increased year-over-year by 13.8 per cent, going from $190,800 in March 2015 to $217,200 in March 2016.

Steady home sales in December cap solid year for Fraser Valley real estate

SURREY, BC – Fraser’s Valley’s real estate market returned to normal activity levels in 2014 with sales of single family detached homes leading the way.


Ray Werger, President of the Board, says “It was a busy year for both buyers and sellers. In 2014, both sales and new listings were stronger in Fraser Valley compared to 2013 – most notably for detached homes and townhomes – with the result that we’ve returned to normal market activity for our region on par with our 10-year average.”


The Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) processed 15,840 sales in 2014, compared to 13,663 the previous year, an increase of 16 per cent. It also received 4 per cent more new listings during the same time period – 30,642 in 2014 compared to 29,338 in 2013. Over the year, the number of active listings for buyers to choose from dropped by 23 per cent going from 7,541 properties in December 2013 to 6,380 in December 2014.


According to Werger, sales during the month of December followed the same trend as every month in 2014 with sales surpassing the same month compared to 2013.  “It was the third busiest December we’ve experienced in the last decade with sales almost keeping pace with the number of new listings.


“As a result, we’ve seen our inventory deplete, which is normal for this time of year however, our selection hasn’t been this low for almost eight years. We hope to see the usual influx of new listings during the first quarter of 2015 because we’re currently seeing a shortage of affordably priced single family detached homes in certain areas. ”


In December, sales increased by 21 per cent, going from 890 in 2013 to 1,075 last month. New listings increased by 13 per cent in December compared to 2014 going from 1,013 to 1,147 bringing the number of active listings to 6,380, 15 per cent fewer than were available in December of 2013.


Home prices in December continued along the same trends as seen for most of 2014, with prices of single family detached homes continuing to rise; townhouse prices remaining steady, and apartment prices decreasing slightly. The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) benchmark price of a detached home in December was $573,100 an increase of 4.3 per cent compared to December 2013, when it was $549,500.


The MLS® HPI benchmark price of townhouses in December was $293,500 on par with $293,300 in December 2013.  The benchmark price of apartments decreased year-over-year by 0.8 per cent, going from $192,600 in December of last year to $191,100 in December 2014.


The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board is an association of 2,757 real estate professionals who live and work in the BC communities of North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford, and Mission. The FVREB marked its 90-year anniversary in 2011.

Surrey comes of age

Welcome to South Surrey.


The gentrification of this area has been ongoing for years, but only lately has the Lower Mainland started to take real notice of the demographic change. Previously made up of mostly underdeveloped lots of agricultural land, South Surrey has now become one of the hottest places for real estate development in the province. As Surrey transforms into a major metropolitan hub, it is cultivating its own upper-crust milieu. Matt Morrow, a real estate agent with Re/Max who lives in Ocean Park, said South Surrey is undergoing a swift metamorphosis.


“Detached prices are rising due to low interest rates and a lack of supply,” Morrow said. “You’re getting a lot of the older view homes being knocked down and newer homes are being built. And we’re starting to see that a lot. If you drive down any of the streets on the slope, houses are coming down and being rebuilt.”


Median prices for detached homes in South Surrey/White Rock jumped 11% to $860,000 and townhomes jumped 13.6% to $465,000 between June 2013 and June 2014, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB). But sales are where the numbers are climbing the most. The number of detached home sales in South Surrey/White Rock rose 32% and townhouse sales jumped 121.9% since June of last year. This is due largely to townhome developments throughout Morgan Heights and South Surrey that were completed this year and in 2013.


Property values for detached homes jumped double digits since June 2013 in areas such as Grandview/Morgan Crossing (8.7%), Hazelmere (12.2%) and Pacific Douglas (10.2%). FVREB president Ray Werger said the increases are the result of Surrey’s rapid expansion, in which 1,200 people are added to the city’s population each month.


“It’s just indicative of what’s going on in the valley in general,” he said. “If you build it, people will come, and definitely it’s a desirable area. You’re close to the border and the ocean, an easy drive to the airport. And it’s got a really diverse mix of housing options.”


Morrow pointed to Morgan Crossing, just east of Highway 99 and north of 24th Avenue, which typifies the gentrification process going on. Commercial development has brought large chain stores like WalMart (Nasdaq:WMT) and Home Depot (Nasdaq:HD) and even some high-end boutiques to the area.


“You’ve now got all levels of shopping within the peninsula so there’s really no need to go anywhere unless you want to hit a major mall. So the need to leave is gone, or going quickly.”


However there’s one aspect of South Surrey that is failing to keep pace with the rapid growth – transportation. Werger said South Surrey is almost growing too fast for its own good.


“You need the [population] numbers for public transportation,” he added. “That’s the biggest thing. If you talk to TransLink, it’s kind of like a chicken-and-egg thing. You’d love to have it right away, but you need the numbers to support the cost of it because it’s so costly.”


Either way, Werger said when he’s driving his car through South Surrey, whether in bumper-to-bumper rush-hour traffic or not, one thing’s for certain.


“What I’m surprised with is just how rapid the growth seems to be. Even as a working realtor, just driving around – which I’m doing all the time – you drive into a neighbourhood down there and go, ‘Holy geez, when did that happen? That wasn’t there last year.’”


(Surrey, BC) – In March, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) processed 1,259 sales on its Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), an increase of 12 per cent compared to the 1,128 sales during March of last year, and a 14 per cent increase compared to February’s 1,102 sales.

Ray Werger, President of the Board, says, “We did see activity pick up last month with an increase in demand in particular for single family detached homes. Sales were noticeably higher in North Delta, Mission and Langley compared to last year.

“Last March, sales of detached homes accounted for 55 per cent of sales of our three main residential property types and this year that increased to 58 per cent. It may not sound like much, but that translated into over 100 more sales. The property type that lost ground was townhouses.” Werger explains, “Our main buyers are families looking for the best value possible by taking advantage of continuing low interest rates and stable home prices.”

The most popular price range for single family detached homes in the Fraser Valley last month was between $500,000 and $600,000. The benchmark price of a typical detached home was $563,400, an increase of 3.5 per cent compared to $544,300 during the same month last year.

For townhouses, the benchmark price in March was $297,100, a decrease of 0.4 per cent compared to $298,200 in March 2013 and the benchmark price of apartments was $195,400, a decrease of 4.3 per cent compared to $204,200 in March 2013.

The Board posted 2,799 new listings last month, an increase of 2 per cent compared to the 2,736 posted during March of last year bringing the total number of active listings in March to 8,763 – 8 per cent less than were available during March 2013.

Werger adds, “We can’t emphasize enough that real estate is local. What’s happening with the Fraser Valley housing market in general may or may not be happening to the market for your home. Contact your local REALTOR® for detailed market information by community, neighbourhood and property type.”

In March, Fraser Valley’s sales-to-active-listings ratio – a comparison of sales and inventory that measures the health of the market – was 14 per cent for all property types (residential and commercial combined); and, 18 per cent for the three main residential property types indicating stability in the marketplace.

Fraser Valley housing market gets its groove back

SURREY, BC – Buyers and sellers in the Fraser Valley took advantage of the record breaking hours of sunshine in July as both sales and listings on the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) experienced a lift.

The Board processed 1,456 sales in July, an increase of 5 per cent compared to the 1,393 sales in July of last year and 10 per cent more than were processed in June. By historical comparison, sales in July ranked sixth going back to 2004. For over a year, monthly sales in Fraser Valley have been trending at 10-year lows.

Ray Werger is the President-elect of the Board. “Buoyancy during the summer is rare at the best of times and yet I’ve just experienced the busiest July in my 20 plus years as a REALTOR®. To jump from the worst June in 10 years to a slightly below average July may not sound unusual or unexpected but it was.

“We’re likely experiencing some pent-up demand coming off some very slow winter months, any tiny change in mortgage rates is incentive for many buyers and let’s not underestimate our glorious weather. For our buyers and sellers, a return to a normal, balanced market is welcome news.”

In July, Fraser Valley’s sales-to-active-listings ratio – a comparison of sales and inventory that measures the health of the market – was 14 per cent for all property types and 18 per cent for single family detached homes and townhomes indicating stability in the marketplace.

The Board received 2,777 new listings in July – 5 per cent fewer than received during the same month last year, but 6 per cent more than were received in June – leaving the volume of active properties at 10,428 a decrease of 4 per cent compared to July 2012.

In July, the benchmark price of single family detached homes in the Fraser Valley was $551,000, virtually on par with $551,400 during the same month last year. For townhouses, the benchmark price was $297,800, a decrease of 1.8 per cent compared to $303,400 in July 2012 and the benchmark price of apartments was $202,000, 2 per cent less than in July 2012 when it was $206,200.

Werger adds, “Year over year, prices are stable or down slightly, however the six month trend is showing one to two per cent increases for all property types; again underlying the return to an average or typical housing market.”


If I knew then….

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you’re hearing a lot of talk in the real estate market these days. Will prices go up? Will the market crash? Will I ever be able to afford a house? How will the new rule changes affect me? How will I ever pay off this debt?
It’s easy to get caught up in all the noise but harder to separate the facts from the hype. As I edge closer to celebrating my first half century on this planet, I find myself using the phrase “if I knew then.. ” more and more — which got me thinking about the next wave of first-time homebuyers, and what pearls of wisdom I could bestow on them.

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague the other day regarding property values in Vancouver. He relayed me a story of a friend who had bought a house on the west side of Vancouver in the mid 1990s and it is now worth over 4 times the amount they paid. In terms of equity, it was the equivalent of winning the lottery. We pondered the question, what will people be saying 20–25 years from now? Is it quite possible that a young 25 year old couple today might look back in the year 2033 and say “If only we had bought that house back in 2013? Why didn’t we? Oh ya, there were new mortgage rules and a lot of global uncertainty…”

Here are a few things that I’ve learned about real estate:

  1. Real estate has peaks and valleys, but there has never been a future peak that is lower than the past one. Just give it time.
  2. Time is your ally. Time can turn any bad real estate decision into a good one.
  3. Equity is your safety net. It can supplement a pension and give you financial options in later years.
  4. Your mortgage is a forced savings program.

So let’s assume that 20–25 years from now you’ll be looking back and saying to yourself one of two things:

  • I’m sure glad I bought that first house, or
  • I wish I had  bought something back in 2013

A lot of people are in this situation today and paralyzed by all the noise around them. And in the absence of facts or perspective, fear will take over. So what are the factors that are influencing your decisions today?
New Mortgage Rules

Yes, there are new mortgage rules that have been implemented over the past few years, but in some respects, this could be to your advantage. Many first-time homebuyers are unaware that you can still buy a home with as little as 5 per cent down. The main rule change that impacts your ability to afford a home is that you can no longer access a 30 year amortization. Your payments will now be determined based on you paying off that mortgage over a maximum 25 year period. Although this does make your payments a little higher in the beginning, it increases the amount of equity you build with each payment (remember your forced savings plan).
In addition, the rule changes imposed by the government have had the exact effect they were looking to accomplish and that is to slow down what was becoming an over-heated housing market. Again, this is to your advantage because it will help to bring house prices back within your range.

Global Uncertainty

There is no doubt that we live in an age of global uncertainty and face the threat of financial chaos in Europe and a pending credit crisis in the US. However, this is not the first time our world has faced these challenges and it won’t be the last. The key factor to look at is what you can control in your world. Ask yourself about your own employment options – your own employment future. The key to creating long term wealth in real estate through equity is your ability to afford your monthly mortgage payments and making them consistently over a long period of time — regardless of what is happening on the other side of the world. If you do so, one day you’ll wake up and realize two things:

  1. Your mortgage is paid off, and
  2. Your house is worth more than the day you bought it — regardless of what happened during the years in between.

So if you’re a first-time homebuyer in 2013, here’s my advice to you. Create a budget that you can afford and be comfortable with. Buy a house or home that does not put a strain on your budget. Focus on taking baby steps and don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture. Make the monthly payments into that forced savings program you called a mortgage and then let time be your friend and real estate will do what it has done for many generations before — eventually go up as your mortgage goes down — and that is what we call “creating equity.” And then maybe, just maybe, as you’re about to celebrate your first half century on this planet, you’ll look back and say, “I’m glad I got started in 2013.”

Republished by permission from Peter Kinch’s The Mortgage Minute.

Sellers and buyers in a stand off

Positive signs Fraser Valley housing market is starting to move »

Lower inventory keeps home prices in check as ‘slow but steady’ market continues

April, 03 2013  09:38:56 am, by FVREB Categories: Statistics

In March, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 1,128 sales on its Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), a 20 per cent decrease compared to the 1,412 sales during the same month last year, and a 24 per cent increase compared to February’s 913 sales.
The Board also received 11 per cent fewer new listings in March compared to last year – 2,736 compared to 3,066 – keeping inventory in check. March finished with 9,503 active listings, 1.5 per cent fewer than March of last year and 3.5 per cent fewer than the 9,832 available during March of 2009; the highest volume of active listings for that month in the last decade.
Ron Todson, President of the Board, explains, “Although we saw a typical spring uptick in activity from February to March, our sales remained at about 70 per cent of the norm for March and our new listings came in at 90 per cent of what the Board would typically receive.


“Because inventory levels are in check, prices are staying in check.”
In March, the benchmark price of single family detached homes in the Fraser Valley was $544,300, an increase of 0.6 per cent compared to $541,300 during the same month last year. For townhouses, the benchmark price was $298,200, a decrease of 1.7 per cent compared to $303,400 in March 2012 and the benchmark price of apartments was $204,200, an increase of 0.8 per cent compared to $202,500 in March 2012.
Todson adds, “Inventory levels are not as high as they need to be to put significant downward pressure on prices of the benchmark, or ‘typical’ home. These are homes that have characteristics most common to houses in a given community.
“In fact, we’re seeing the reverse happen. Benchmark prices for all three main property types in the Fraser Valley increased in value during the first quarter of 2013. Since January, detached homes are up by 1 per cent, townhomes by 0.6 per cent; and apartments by 2 per cent.”