Property values soar in Ucluelet

Ukee sees B.C. Assessment’s biggest increase on Vancouver Island

“Lots of demand and no supply,” is the main reason behind a rapid rise in Ucluelet’s property values, according to local realtor Judy Gray of RE/MAX Mid-Island Realty.

B.C.’s 2018 property assessment notices are in the mail and Ucluetians can expect to see a significant increase in their home’s value as the average Ucluelet property rose from $290,000 to $366,000 between July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017, according to a report released by B.C. Assessment on Tuesday.

That 26 per cent increase is the largest on Vancouver Island, which, the report states, saw an overall increase in total assessments from $192.7 billion in 2017 to $223.1 billion this year.

Gray told the Westerly News that Ucluelet’s property sales have rebounded strongly over the past two years after a tough drought from 2008-2015.

“Resort areas took the biggest hit in the downturn of the overall economy and it took a long time for us to recover…It wasn’t until late 2014 early 2015 that we started to see any sort of recovery,” Gray said.

“We had a terrible drought in sales. Our sales dropped like crazy and prices dropped like crazy. We had some significant make-up in 2016 and 2017…It came on like gangbusters. It came fast and furious through 2016 and 2017.”

She cited a current mix of low supply and high demand as the main reason Ucluelet’s values are rising.

“The popularity of Ucluelet has increased the interest in the area and significantly increased the sales and there’s been a lack of inventory, which puts pressure on pricing. People are willing to pay more to get what they want,” she said. “In 2008, most of the people that were coming here were looking at investment properties and second homes. That has changed, somewhat, to be young families wanting to live here. They’re exiting the cities and a lot of the reason that they’re able to do that now is because they’re able to bring their work with them and they’re entrepreneurial.”

She suggested Ucluelet remains an “excellent place to invest,” and that improvements to both the Long Beach Airport and Highway 4 will make an impact.

“Ucluelet is a fantastic community,” she said. “It’s safe. It’s beautiful. It’s got lots of activities for you to do. Lots of people want to come here.”

Property values in Tofino rose 14 per cent, from an average of $576,000 to $654,000.

“The large increase is like a double ended sword,” Tofino realtor Tia Traviss of RE/MAX told the Westerly News, “It’s great for sellers and not so great for buyers, especially first time home-buyers.”

She added that, like Ucluelet, Tofino’s market is trending towards local ownership.

“We currently have lots of buyers in the market, without much inventory to show them,” she said. “Vacation rentals are of course an extremely popular product in Tofino, however I am seeing more people looking to relocate and make Tofino home, I am also happy to see more and more locals and/or close family of locals investing in real estate in Tofino.”

She suggested Tofino “will always be a great place to invest in,” for either a home or income property.

“Tofino’s tourism seems to increase steadily every year, and with the rest of the world getting busier and busier, I believe it makes places like Tofino all that much more special and for that reason alone, a great place to invest,” she said.

Tina Ireland of B.C. Assessment said property owners should not immediately assume that increased assessments will lead to higher municipal taxes.

“It is important to understand that increases in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding increase in property taxes,” Ireland said. “How your assessment changes relative to the average change in your community is what may affect your property taxes.”

Anyone who disagrees with their property’s assessment, or wants more information on the process, can visit www.bcassessment.ca.

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