I was in an airport in Southern California this morning when I spotted this headline on USA Today and upon my return to town it made me take notice of this article in the Vancouver Province about the recent property tax increase in Vancouver..
Every so often we post a story about property taxes in Vancouver and inevitably someone posts a comment based on the assumption that higher assessment values mean higher property taxes. Of course property taxes in Vancouver aren’t like PST or GST and someone always seems to be around to point out that fact – property assessment values in Vancouver only determine your share of the total tax burden compared to your neighbors property. Higher property values don’t create a property tax windfall for local governments, in fact – if we can base anything on the US example, by the time government gets around to grabbing more property tax based on inflated property values the boom is already over.
So what’s going on here? Is it just that governments move at a pace that’s too slow to react to market changes? Are we at the tail end of a boom locally? Are we due to hear complaints about taxes based on “unrealistic property assessments” or will the recent Vancouver property tax increases simply be absorbed painlessly into future appreciation?