Property assessment notices arriving in mailboxes this week aren't likely to cause a lot of grief this time around, unless, of course, you're trying to break into the market.
Figures released by B.C. Assessment show a relatively moderate increase in the value of properties in Delta, most in the single-digit range, so there are unlikely to be too many worries over skyrocketing property taxes this spring. The numbers provided by the assessment authority do, however, paint a scary picture for those hoping to one day join the home ownership club.
The examples in various neighbourhoods provided by B.C. Assessment, which may well be lower than the actual values, have to be depressing for those watching home ownership become more and more of an unattainable dream.
According to the assessment authority, the typical East Ladner home, and we're probably talking about a Sunrise era one here, was valued at $784,000 on July 1 of last year, up from $759,000 12 months earlier. Even a 15-year-old, twobedroom apartment in Ladner now goes for $320,000.
It might as well be a million dollars for first-time buyers, which, incidentally, is how much a 40-year-old home in the Shellmont area of Richmond is valued at these days. And that's a bargain compared to the $1.4 million for a 15year-old home in Richmond's Broadmoor neighbourhood or the almost $1.7 million for a 20-year-old one in the Thompson area.
We're seeing the price of real estate in the Lower Mainland explode to the point where average folks - hard-working people with decent-paying jobs - are finding it darn near impossible to afford the mortgage payments on anything that resembles a single-family home. They're moving further and further to the east in an ever-present sprawl, but assessment authority figures show that even a 10year-old home in Cloverdale is now in excess of $600,000.
As the old saying goes, they're not making any more land, so there's only so much that can be done, but I get the sense those who could aid the situation don't see it as the priority it should be because they're comfortably ensconced in their high-equity, low-debt homes.
We're never going back to the 1960s and '70s when home ownership in these parts and elsewhere in the region was within reach of the vast majority, but we could be doing more to aid those whose timing is not as fortunate.
It's only going to get worse the longer we wait.