Analysis shows $90B in lost home value across Metro Vancouver

By on 05/21/2019

“Sticker shock” as property tax notices mailed out to residents this week.

VANCOUVER, BC (May 21, 2019) — Wherever you live across the Lower Mainland, you may be surprised to learn that you have lost thousands in homeowner equity over the past twelve months.

Analysis released today by Paul Sullivan, Senior Partner at Burgess, Cawley, Sullivan & Associates Ltd. a leading commercial real estate and property tax appraisal firm, shows that between April 2018 and April 2019, properties across Metro saw an astonishing $89.2 billion in estimated lost homeowner equity.

The analysis, prepared using publicly available housing data, shows striking market value loss across all municipalities in the region.

Vancouver, which has the highest number of dwellings, saw a nearly 13% decrease, for a total of $43.6 billion.

West Vancouver saw the highest percentage decrease, at 14.68%.

Port Coquitlam shows a staggering 10.23% decrease, with a dollar value of over $1.5 billion. Almost half of those billions in losses are outside Vancouver and West Vancouver.

Why is this important? Sullivan makes three key points:

Homeowners rely on the equity in their homes, usually their biggest investment, to fund things like home renovations, post-secondary education, senior care costs, and retirement. While MLA’s, academics, and public sector workers rely on secure, taxpayer-funded pension plans, many British Columbians rely on the equity in their home to get them through retirement, and to leave something for their children. This equity loss leaves many seniors, who have tried to plan carefully, in jeopardy.

The impact on the economy and jobs will likewise be devastating. A recent BC Real Estate Association analysis confirms that a 10% equity loss translates to 26,000 jobs lost, $1.8B in lost retail sales, plus lost tax revenues to government.

“It makes sense, when you simultaneously lose equity in your home and face increased taxes, something’s gotta give,” states Sullivan. “Families make difficult choices, which means a loss to local businesses and a great loss to the economy.”

And for many, deferring taxes is simply not an option. Many homeowners do not realize that you must hold at least 25% equity in your home to qualify for deferral, which may be increasingly difficult for many across our region as equity plummets. Those who do defer may face a tax bill upon the sale of their property that erodes any gains they have made in real estate value.

“While the government’s goal may indeed be to bottom out the housing market in an attempt to somehow address the complex issue of affordability, they are simply removing billions of dollars from the B.C. economy, to everyone’s detriment,” added Sullivan. “This provincial government suggests you don’t deserve to have that real estate “wealth” and should pay even more, on top of rising income taxes, the highest gas prices in North America and ballooning ICBC and utility fee increases. The impact of the school tax surcharge on homes assessed at over $3M, for example, means an average 35% increase across Vancouver, although many of those homes have seen assessments plummet since the BC NDP took power.”

Sullivan will release this analysis at an event hosted by STEPUP, a grassroots advocacy organization, about housing policy in B.C.

“We have been taxed out of our home,” says Point Grey resident Ric Pow. “My wife and I are life-long residents of Vancouver, and have owned and lived in Point Grey for 33 years. We have been careful with our retirement funds, and own our home mortgage-free, which has been a cornerstone of our retirement plan.”

“Our home, along with most others in David Eby’s riding, has lost 25% of its value since the NDP took power,” continued Pow. “We have been forced to defer the unaffordable taxes, and are now in debt to the city and province because of the fiscal policies of the NDP. This will have a serious impact on our financial well-being during retirement years.”

For more information and interview requests:

Vanessa Schneider
[email protected]

(778) 800-4118

Founded by concerned citizens, STEPUP is registered society committed to opposing policy that divides and weakens our communities for partisan gain.





Metro Vancouver Housing Data Book # of Dwellings 2016

2018 Authenticated Roll Residential Property Class Taxable Values

Indicated Value Loss Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley All Property Types % April 2018 to April 2019

Equity Loss

Equity Loss Per Household

























Maple Ridge






New Westminster






North Vancouver






Pitt Meadows






Port Coquitlam






Port Moody
























West Vancouver






White Rock










Source: Burgess Cawley Sullivan & Associates Ltd. Data from BC MLS and Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.


This chart shows actual decrease in median sale price.

Number of dwellings data is from the Metro Vancouver Housing Data Book, and is based upon the 2016 census.

“2018 Authenticated Roll Residential Property Class Taxable Values” is total value of class 1 residential properties as reported by the Province 2018 assessed value as of July 1 2017. 2019 values are not yet compiled and published in a similar manner.

“Indicated Value Loss Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley All Property Types “April 2018 to April 2019” is the average percentage decline in the median sale price for all detached, townhouse and apartment sales 2018 to 2019. It is unrelated to any change in assessment. Total number of sales is available through real estate board.

Some decline would have already been captured in the current 2019 assessments. The valuation date is always July of the previous year. So 2019 assessments are July 2018 and 2020 assessments will be July 2019.  In using 2018 assessments as of July 2017 we get a more realistic look at the overall decline in market value from the peak of the market which would have been late 2017 .

Deferring taxes is not an option for many British Columbians

Property Tax Deferral: Seniors who qualify to defer taxes pay 1.95%, while a parent supporting a dependent child would pay 3.95% interest on deferred property taxes. Government fees also apply.  If you defer for a long enough time, you could seriously erode any equity, especially if you have a high-ratio mortgage. And that’s assuming your bank lender allows you to incur more debt.  Many won’t.  You also have to have a minimum 25% equity in your home to qualify.


School Tax Surcharge

Among the nineteen new and increased taxes from the BC NDP, the school tax surcharge impacts homeowners whose property is assessed at $3M or more. This surcharge has analysts puzzled, as it treats assessments as a value to be taxed which is unprecedented in Canadian tax policy, which is generally predicated on ability to pay or a transactional tax.


By treating seniors’ homes as “windfalls” to be taxed, the BC NDP is putting many of our neighbours’ futures in jeopardy. The bottoming out of home equity adds insult to injury, as tax bills will reflect a moment in time appraisal of home value.


Many homeowners and renters are likewise concerned about the political and social effects of this targeted attack on certain property owners, which in effect pits neighbour against neighbour.