The most expensive house in Maple Ridge is owned by a local landlord, currently charged with plotting a murder.
According to B.C. Assessment, Jack Athwal’s mansion at 21808 River Rd., worth $1.77 million, is the highest valued single-family home in the municipality and among just three local homes to make the list of 100 top-priced properties in the Fraser Valley.
“It’s beautiful,” exclaims Athwal, who has lived in the house he built for the past 15 years.
“I love it.”
The 14,000 -square-foot, three-storey home, boasts an elevator, a fountain and a deck with panoramic views.
“You can see all the mountains,” said Athwal, who claims he is selling all his rental properties as he plans to retire this year.
He won’t be selling his own home however.
“My wife will not let me sell it,” said Athwal, but added that he would consider off-loading it for $2.5 million.
Despite owning a million-dollar property, the self-described “Donald Trump of Maple Ridge” is currently facing a string of civil lawsuits as banks and a building strata try to recoup money they claim he owes them. He owns 30 rental properties in Maple Ridge, alone.
Besides the civil suits, Jack Athwal currently faces trial on five criminal matters.
The first involves a murder plot at Gordon Towers, which was set to go to trial in December, but has been postponed.
He also faces one count each of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm and criminal harassment in connection with alleged threats against another tenant and a breach charge connected to an alleged violation of bail, as well as a charge of sexual assault. He is also faces uttering a threat and an assault charge in Surrey.
Athwal says he is innocent of all the criminal charges and blames the allegations on his disgruntled tenants.
“It’s all tenants trying to hurt the landlord,” he said.
The two other properties to make the top 100 list are acreages – one at 13035 Alouette Rd. valued at $1.9 million and the second 26417 103rd Ave., valued at $1.8 million.
Overall, home values are taking a breather this year from their constant escalation, though it won’t make a difference to taxpayers because municipalities just tweak their tax rates to get what they want anyway.
Numbers from B.C. Assessment show that the typical value of a single family home in Maple Ridge climbed by $8,000 to $408,000, while townhouse values remained at $361,000, according to the 2014 assessment roll.
Homeowners will get their notices in the mail in the next few days, showing the value of their homes.
The assessment roll shows the change in value of homes from July 2012 to July 2013 and are used by municipalities in determining their property tax rates.
“Most homeowners in the Fraser Valley will see modest changes in the minus-five to plus-five per cent range,” said Raj Sandhu, with B.C. Assessment in Abbotsford.
Commercial and industrial properties will see the same range changes.
Overall, the total value in real estate in the Fraser Valley, starting from Langley to Hope, will jump by almost $2 billion, largely because of new construction.
Pitt Meadows had a higher jump than Maple Ridge, with single family homes rising to $525,000 from an even half a million dollars in the same period last year.
Townhouse values in Pitt Meadows remained stable at $350,000, while apartment-condos remained at about $200,000.
People who disagree with the values attached to their properties can appeal to B.C. Assessment by Jan. 31. If a property assessment is changed downward after an appeal, property taxes could also be lowered.
Homeowners can only appeal the assessments of their properties and not the municipal property taxes they’ll have to pay in July.
People can check out www.bcassessment.ca for more information about the 2014 Assessment Roll, including lists of 2014s top-100 most valuable residential properties across B.C.
View Top Valued Homes in Maple Ridge in a full screen map