East Vancouver homeowner loses appeal to increase assessment of “undervalued” property to nearly $4 million

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      Harvey Oreck owns a home on the East Side of Vancouver.

      The residence at 3422 Triumph Street has a 2021 assessment of $2,899,000, with $1,602,000 for the land and $1,297,000 for the structure.

      For Oreck, this was not high enough.

      The owner believes that his property is worth much more.

      Oreck thinks his home should have an assessment of $3,975,000.

      That’s $1,076,000 more than its official assessment.

      And so, Oreck asked the provincial Property Assessment Appeal Board (PAAB) to increase the assessment of his home to $3,975,000.

      However, the property owner did not get his wish.

      A PAAB panel chaired by Larry Dybvig dismissed the appeal and confirmed the assessment made by a Property Assessment Review Panel.

      In a decision this month, Dybvig described Oreck’s property as a “well and recently built single-family residence in East Vancouver, near the Pacific National Exhibition (‘PNE’) grounds”.

      “The Appellant’s main contention is that the property’s assessment is too low and does not reflect the high quality of the home, level of finishing, and view,” the panel chair wrote.

      The 3,464-square-foot home was built in 2017 on a 48-foot wide, 5,856-square-foot view lot.

      It includes a laneway house measuring 511 square feet, for a total finished area of 3,975 square feet.

      “The home is very well built, with many extras such as radiant heat, air conditioning, automated ‘Smart House’ features, cedar soffits, a fully serviced rooftop deck, a basement theatre room with extensive audio/visual amenities and $60,000 worth of appliances,” Dybvig related.

      Dybvig wrote that according to Oreck, the “neighbourhood is peaceful and upwardly mobile, the home is of exceptional quality, and has a user-friendly function, with attractive amenities, design and landscaping”.

      The laneway house at the back is rented out for $1,975 a month.

      “He says part of the reason the Assessor has undervalued his property in part due is its location, which is in East Vancouver, near the PNE,” Dybvig related.

      Oreck argued that his home is “unique to the neighbourhood and arguably the entire east side of Vancouver”.

      Moreover, Oreck claimed that there are “no good comparables in the neighbourhood”.

      In other words, his property is “superior to other homes in the area”.

      Among the pieces of evidence submitted to the PAAB by Oreck is a letter from a realtor.

      “After viewing the home, through the lens of construction, accommodation, landscaping, utility, and function, it is my considered opinion that the value of the home on July 1st 2020 was between $3,875,000 and $4,075,000 or $3,975,000,” Dybvig quoted the realtor’s letter.

      However, Dybvig noted that the realtor’s letter “provides no support for this opinion, no methodology, data or analysis in support of this opinion and no indication of his qualifications”.

      Dybvig favoured the approach taken by the assessor of Area #09, which is the Vancouver Sea to Sky Region, during the appeal.

      The assessor presented sales of three comparable properties. Two of these are in the Killarney neighbourhood of Vancouver, and the third one was in the same Hastings-Sunrise area as Oreck’s property.

      “The Assessor says these comparable sales provide good evidence of market value, with a range of $2,900,000 to $3,100,000,” Dybvig noted.

      In connection with the two Killarney area properties, Dybvig wrote that these are “most similar in both land and improvements when compared to the subject”.

      “Even though both sales are in a different neighbourhood, they provide a good indication of market value for custom buildings with laneway homes of similar size and quality on large lots in East Vancouver,” the PAAB panel chair wrote.

      Meanwhile, the third property on Eton Street in Hastings-Sunrise “offers supporting evidence of a custom home on a standard lot within the subject’s neighbourhood”.

      Dybvig stated that the three comparables used by the assessor “appear to be the best available market evidence”.

      Meanwhile, Oreck “suggested no others”.

      As a result, Dybvig upheld the 2021 assessment of Oreck’s property at $2,899,000.

      Decisions by the PAAB can be appealed before the B.C. Supreme Court.