Property owners across B.C. can expect a modest increase to their homes’ assessed value this month, bucking concerns of a COVID-related collapse, with the lion’s share of the growth being felt in already high-priced single family homes.

While low interest rates have likely kept money cheap and prices high, the pandemic may be partly to blame for the shift to larger properties, with buyers looking for bigger spaces to accommodate all the things many people are doing in their properties thanks to recommendations by public health officials to stay home.

“Your condo has been the place where you sleep, work, go to a restaurant, your nursery. Add that all in and 600 square feet suddenly seems mighty small,” said Andy Yan, the director of the city program at Simon Fraser University.

“Physics ultimately kicks in at some point,” he said.

Provincewide, single family and strata properties saw a growth of between zero and 10 per cent, according to BC Assessment.

The biggest increase for single family homes occurred in Vancouver, with the "typical" assessed value in 2020 jumping 10 per cent to $1.717 million. The District of Squamish also saw a 10 per cent gain to $1.026 million for a typical property.

The City of Surrey saw five per cent growth to a valuation of $1.062 million for a typical single family home, and Richmond saw a six per cent spike to $1.405 million for a typical single family home.

The District and City of North Vancouver saw the largest increase among strata properties, with the district jumping six per cent to $732,000, and the city jumping five per cent to $690,000 for a "typical" property.

Strata properties in the City of Vancouver and the City of Surrey saw a growth of three per cent. In Port Moody, Whistler and Delta, those properties increased in value by just one per cent.

“Despite COVID-19, the Lower Mainland residential real estate market has been resilient,” said BC Assessment Deputy Assessor Bryan Murao in a statement. “This incredible strength is a stark contrast to last spring when the market came to a temporary standstill whereas the remainder of the year had a very steady and rapid recovery.”

Commercial and industrial markets have been more varied, and commercial sales have remained low. 

BC Assessment is a provincial agency that values properties in part so that municipal governments can calculate property taxes.

In the Lower Mainland, the total value of all property rose from about $1.41 trillion in 2020 to about $1.46 trillion. Some $15 billion of that is from new construction, subdivisions and rezoning.

Rates remain at low, with Vancity Credit Union posting a five-year fixed term residential mortgage at 1.79 per cent.