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City's housing values healthy, despite pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic didn't hurt home values in the city, according to information released by the BC Assessment authority on Monday. BC Assessment will be mailing property assessments to the owners of nearly 250,000 properties across northern B.C.
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The COVID-19 pandemic didn't hurt home values in the city, according to information released by the BC Assessment authority on Monday.

BC Assessment will be mailing property assessments to the owners of nearly 250,000 properties across northern B.C. this week. Property assessments for 2021 are based on the assessed value from July 1, 2020, and physical condition as of Oct. 31, 2020.

"For most of Northern B.C.’s homes, there has been a moderate increase compared to last year’s assessments," deputy assessor Jarret Krantz said in a press release. “In some instances, there has been a larger increase in rural areas within the region, particularly with lakefront properties.”

Prince George saw a seven per cent increase in median assessed values for single-family homes and an eight per cent increase in the median value of condos and townhouses.

The median value of single-family houses in the city grew from $310,000 in 2020 to $333,000 in 2021. For condos and townhouses, the median value grew from $172,000 to $186,000.

Prices for single-family homes in the city have increased more than 20 per cent since 2017. Condos and townhouses saw a nearly 20 per cent increase since 2017.

Despite the pandemic, a total of 774 single-family houses changed hands in the city over the first three quarters of 2020. Over the same period, 891 single-family houses were sold in 2019 and 920 were sold in the first three quarters of 2018.

Overall, northern B.C.'s assessments rose from more than $69 billion to $72 billion in 2021 – with $707 million coming from new construction, BC Assessment reported. The northern B.C. region includes the upper 70 per cent of the province, starting just north of Clinton.

In the north, Burns Lake saw the biggest increase, reporting a 21 per cent hike in median house values. Wells, Smithers, Telkwa, the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, Port Clements and Houston all saw double-digit increases in median house values.

Condos and townhouses in Terrace saw a 14 per cent increase in median value.

Mackenzie saw the biggest loss in median house value. Houses in the hard-hit forestry town north of Prince George lost eight per cent of median value, dropping from $155,000 to $143,000.

Fort St. James, Fort St. John, Hudson's Hope, Kitimat, Pouce Coupe, Taylor and Tumbler Ridge also saw single-digit declines in median property values.

Terrace and Smithers were most expensive jurisdictions to buy a home in northern B.C., with median house values at $375,000 and $362,000 respectively. Prince George was the third-most costly jurisdiction to buy a house in the region, however the city had the second-lowest median price for condos and townhouses in the north.

Granisle and Port Clements remain the only jurisdictions in the north were the median price of a house remains below $100,000. Despite seeing a 15 per cent increase in 2021, Wells was the third-cheapest place in the north to buy a home.

Across B.C, the total of value of real estate grew 4.2 per cent to a combined total of $2.01 trillion – with $22.1 billion of that increase coming from new construction and subdivisions.

Homeowners have until Feb. 1 to file a notice of complaint to request an independent review of their property assessment.