Point Grey home sales brought up at Property Assessment Appeal Board hearing

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      A single-family house in Point Grey reflects the roller-coaster state of Vancouver’s real-estate market.

      In 2018, B.C. Assessment valued the property at 4765 Drummond Drive at almost $18.1 million.

      The 0.35-hectare site includes an 8,830-square-foot home (including finished basement space) built in 1911.

      The 2018 determination reflected B.C. Assessment’s evaluation of the market value on July 1, 2017.

      That prompted an appeal by Frederick J. Walker, who claimed that it was too high and not equitable to other properties in that part of Point Grey.

      This year, however, the assessment of 4765 Drummond Drive fell to $15.1 million. That’s a drop of more than 16 percent and was less than what Walker was claiming to be the value of his property in his appeal last year.

      At that time, Walker cited three nearby sales over a seven-month period, with prices ranging from $14 million to $15.5 million.

      The lowest-valued comparable property identified by Walker, a house at 4722 Drummond Drive, was significantly smaller than his property and included a house that was less than half the size.

      Another comparable property, a home at 4736 Drummond Drive, sold for $15.5 million in November 2017. Again, the lot and home were smaller than Walker’s, but the site includes a four-car detached garage.

      The third comparable property, at 4777 West 2nd Avenue, sold for $14.1 million in August 2017 with a similar-size lot but a smaller house.

      B.C. Assessment responded by citing the sale of a property across the street from Walker’s home at 4770 Drummond Drive. It was snapped up for almost $17.4 million in February 2018 even though it was a smaller lot and had a smaller house than Walker’s.

      According to B.C. Assessment records, 4765 Drummond Drive was the 155th highest valued residential property in B.C. and the 44th highest valued residential property in Point Grey in 2017.

      Walker maintained that the market value should have been between $15.5 million and $16 million on July 1, 2017. His second response prompted an objection from the assessor, who claimed that this submission included “new sales comparables” and contravened the board’s order.

      Earlier this month, the Property Assessment Appeal Board sided with B.C. Assessment, upholding its valuation of nearly $18.1 million.

      “I am not satisfied that the assessment of the Property at market value is inequitable,” panel chair Chris Hope wrote in a decision on the board’s website. “Whether a particular property’s assessment increases from one year to another at a rate higher than its neighbours is not proof of inequity.

      “There are various reasons why assessments can go up or down from year to year,” Hope continued. “There is no evidence before me that the Property’s neighbours are under-assessed or that there is some other broad systemic inconsistency is at play.”

      Assessments of valuable homes affect how much property tax is paid.

      Last year, the B.C. NDP government upped the ante by imposing a 0.2 percent surtax on the residential portion betwen $3 and $4 million, and 0.4 percent on the residential portion of assessed value over $4 million.

      This means that for a home valued at $18 million, the owner would pay a $58,000 annual surtax on property to the province.

      This has been a contributing factor behind a slowdown in the market for expensive houses in B.C.

      According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, there were seven sales of detached properties in Point Grey in November 2018, with a benchmark sale price of just over $3.2 million.

      That was down 17.9 percent from the same month in 2017.