01/02/2013 04:02 EST | Updated 03/25/2013 06:36 EDT

BC Property Assessments 2013 Show Home Values Falling

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VICTORIA - Another sign of B.C.'s cooling housing market is appearing in the form of property assessments that show some home values falling for the first time in years.

At the same time, the B.C. government is increasing the provincial homeowner grant that's used to help offset property taxes, which are partly based on the assessments.

The B.C. Assessment Authority says most homeowners will see a change of less than five per cent in the value of their properties compared to last year, but some may see a significant decrease, especially on Vancouver's west side and in Whistler, Pemberton, the Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island.

The reductions come after housing prices cooled during 2012, but some properties have also risen in value, and to deal with that, the government is increasing the threshold for people to claim the homeowners grant.

The threshold will rise by $10,000, meaning people with homes valued up to $1.29 million will qualify for the grant.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong says under the increase, more than one million homeowners in B.C. will be eligible for the full grant, or about 95.5 per cent of homeowners.

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