Home buyers often look to assessed property values from BC Assessment as an indication of CURRENT market value. This is more often than not a mistake. It should be emphasized that like all market evaluations, BC Assessment assesses property values at a specific moment in time.
In BC, the assessed value is legislated to be determined as of July 1 of each year. By the time homeowners receive their assessment notices in January, they are backwards dated 6 months. In other words, the assessed value is a historical figure.
The assessments serve as a basis for municipalities to base their property taxes on. They are produced using modelling and mass assessment techniques. A high-level approach is taken to value a broad swath of homes at a time. As such, assessments don't always accurately or fully take into account more property specific traits (i.e. recent renovations).
Using a property's assessment value, in determining an offer value in a contract of purchase and sale, is probably only a useful indicator in a very stable or sideways market. Such markets are rare in recent years. As the 2022 Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver real estate markets showed, residential real estate markets are dynamic. They can change quickly over the course of a year. Sometimes values can swing hundreds of thousands of dollars in mere months, depending on the property type and/or location.
COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS (CMA)
For buyers of homes and properties, it is far more useful to obtain a comparative market analysis or CMA, to guide an offer price on a prospective purchase. The CMA is CURRENT. It relies on the most recent sales evidence to provide guidance on what homes or properties are currently selling for.
Moreover, using a CMA allows a far easier and more detailed comparasion of property specific characteristics. A real estate agent familiar with an area generally has a solid understanding of features of homes, buildings and communities that will allow you to make an informed buying decision.
The bottom line, at the very least, obtain the most recent and relevant comparable sales before making any offer to purchase a home or property. It will help you name an informed offer price.