Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Wild Changes in Langley City Commercial Property Values and Commercial Property Tax

As I posted last week, I delivered Langley City's "State of the City" address at a Langley Chamber of Commerce dinner. Of course, one topic that came up was commercial property tax.

The BC Assessment Authority determines each property's value. These values are critical for determining the amount of property tax and the change in property tax that a property owner pays.

In BC, municipalities must use a mill rate to determine the tax that a property owner pays. A municipality sets the mill rate for commercial properties by dividing the total property tax it wants to collect from commercial properties by the value of all commercial properties in a municipality.

Because we must use a mill rate, if someone's property values increase more than average, they will have a higher percentage increase in their property tax. If someone's property value increases (or decreases) lower than average, they will have a lower percentage increase in their property tax.

Some commercial property owners saw a significant increase in property tax this year, while others saw a significant decrease. These wild swings are entirely out of Langley City's control, as the BC Assessment Authority, an independent agency of the provincial government, set these values. I did hear from several business owners about their property taxes this year.

Langley City staff prepared the following map of commercial properties and their percentage change in assessed property value as determined by the BC Assessment Authority.

Map showing percentage change in property values in Langley City between the 2023 and 2024 property tax period. Select the map to enlarge.

There are some puzzlers of changed values. For example, the purple areas saw a decrease in property value between 2023 and 2024. These include the Willowbrook Mall, City Square Mall, and the RioCan Power Centre. Willowbrook Park (where a new King Taps is under construction) saw a massive increase in property value.

City staff prepared a table looking at the ten highest-valued commercial properties in Langley City.

Address Tenants 2023 Assessment 2024 Assessment % Assessment Change Tax $ Change Tax % Change
20085 Langley Bypass RioCan Retail (North) $60,655,000 $57,817,000 -4.7% -$19,071 -3.2%
20150 Langley Bypass RioCan Retail (South) $88,621,000 $84,832,000 -4.3% -$24,280 -2.8%
19868 Langley Bypass City Square $60,300,000 $57,996,000 -3.8% -$13,773 -2.3%
19705 Fraser Hwy Willowbrook Mall $52,615,000 $50,884,000 -3.3% -$9,217 -1.8%
20451 Logan Ave Langley Mini Storage $34,108,000 $33,790,000 -0.9% $2,143 0.6%
20151 Fraser Hwy Valley Centre $47,949,000 $47,968,000 0.0% $8,476 1.7%
5501 204 St Langley Mall $67,159,000 $67,184,000 0.0% $11,855 1.7%
1-20393 Fraser Hwy Gateway Casino $47,622,000 $52,726,000 10.7% $62,758 12.5%
20577 Langley Bypass Various Businesses $42,621,000 $47,468,000 11.4% $64,012 13.7%
6131 200 St Willowbrook Park $45,127,000 $54,275,000 20.3% $98,676 22.2%

As you can see, one owner saw a 22% increase in property tax, while another saw a 3% decrease.

What does this mean at the end of the day? If you think your commercial property tax has increased higher than the average property tax increase, you have the option of disputing your property's value with the BC Assessment Authority. This could help lower your property tax bill.

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