ROTHENBURGER – Soaring assessments pit homeowners against renters
A LOT OF NEW MILLIONAIRES are walking around Kamloops these days. They don’t look different than anyone else. Their clothes aren’t any fancier; they likely don’t wear gold necklaces and designer shoes.
They’re just ordinary folks whose property assessments are in the mail (maybe you got yours yesterday).
When they open them, they might find that the assessed value of their homes has suddenly shot over the $1 million mark, thanks to B.C. Assessment Authority, which has boosted property values for single-family homes by 27 per cent on average in the city. In some places, it’s as much as 50 per cent.
What was a nice, average-priced home a year ago is suddenly worth a million bucks. That’s just the market, according to B.C. Assessment. In fact, those assessments tend to lag behind the market by a few percentage points, so homes usually sell above assessed value.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hopefully the local property owners will start paying a bit more attention to the myriad of ways the City of Kamloops administrators under the not-so-watchful eye of council spends irresponsibly and wastefully.
The housing affordability problem which has long since been dire in the lower mainland has finally caught up with Kamloops. If you are a retired or semi-retired person, it must be tempting to cash in on your multi-million dollar nest egg in Van. and move here.
A good illustration of what’s wrong with the system is what has happened at TRU. On-campus land was leased to developers who built apartments and condos which are basically unaffordable for those who need it the most — students. The housing situation for students is now so dire that TRU is planning to erect modular housing on its parking lots. Ironically, a campus which meant for students, is being turned into a real-estate bonanza for developers, who least of all, cater to students.
The problem isn’t that developers don’t care about the housing the poor, but rather it’s city planning committees and institutions that would rather sell building permits to the highest bidder.
At the same time, nobody wants the great unwashed, the folks straddling the poverty line living in their midst. As described to me by a former administrator, TRU didn’t want a “student ghetto” on their campus. What they want are nice shiny people living on tidy plots of land with nice lawns. Meanwhile, the ragged folks (some of whom happen to be our kids) are destined to become basement and motel dwellers.
The inflation of property values is driven by off shore buyers, who are merely exploiting the market, not really interested in living here….we need to stop foreign ownership of land and homes, and triple tax those who control it..