Assessments for property in Langley are expected to be down, with the report to be issued on Jan. 2. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

UPDATED: Langley home values dropping: BC Assessments

That does not mean property taxes will be going down

New property assessments for B.C. land has been released as of Jan. 2, and it’s expected most homes in Langley will be valued lower than they were last year, while industrial and commercial property climbs in value.

“The Lower Mainland residential real estate market continues to see signs of moderation,” said BC Assessment deputy assessor Brian Smith.

The annual report by BC Assessments takes a snapshot of property values every July. The Jan. 2 numbers are based on information from July, 2019.

Langley Township saw an average decrease of five per cent for single family homes, with values dropping from $971,000 to $922,000. Langley City saw a decrease of six per cent from $862,000 to $809,000 for the average house.

Condos and townhouses dropped in value at similar rates. In the Township, assessed values dropped from $561,000 to $531,000, a five per cent decrease. In Langley City, strata homes were down from $396,000 to $369,000, a seven per cent decrease.

Commercial and industrial properties rose in value, according to the projections. Commercial land was up between zero and 10 per cent, while industrial land was up between 10 and 30 per cent over a single year.

The increase in commercial properties can be seen with some of Langley’s major institutional properties.

The Langley campus of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) went up to $88.4 million in assessed value for this year, an increase from $79.5 million last year.

The Langley Township Civic Facility on 65th Avenue saw its assessed value rise to $28.7 million up from $26.6 million last year.

Langley City’s Timms Centre, which includes City Hall, was assessed at $36.1 million, up from $31.2 million.

By contrast, while homes in rural Langley remained valued at a high level, they were down from last year.

A one-acre property near D.W. Poppy with a recently built two-storey house was valued this year at $2.1 million, down from $2.3 million in last year’s assessment.

Many other Lower Mainland communities saw similar changes in the early estimates. Homes in Metro Vancouver overall were expected to be down between five and 15 per cent.

The changes were in contrast to recent years. Even last year, as the rate of increase was slowing down, Langley residental property values were on the upswing, with an average six per cent increase for detached housing values.

READ MORE: House values rose in Langley in 2018 – BC Assessment

The assessment is a snapshot of time, and the last few years have seen some sharp swings in property values, largely upward.

In 2017, BC Assessment said the typical increase was 30 to 50 per cent for many detached houses.

That was at the peak of the spiking real estate values.

Over the following two years, home sales tapered off and late 2018 and early 2019 were particularly slow. The BC Assessment numbers were gathered when the median price for a single-family home in Langley was down 5.9 per cent from the previous year, according to Fraser Valley Real Estate Board numbers. Townhouses were down about 12.8 per cent and condos up 6.5 per cent.

Home sales have picked up somewhat in the fall of 2019 and prices stabilized, but that won’t be captured by the assessments.

Whether property values are going up or down matters less for property taxes than whether an individual’s home is increasing or decreasing faster than average.

Municipal governments adjust their residential tax rate with the aim of raising the same amount of revenue as in the previous year.

That nullifies the impact of the average assessed value increase or decrease.

If a property increases less than average – or decreases by more than the average – a slight tax decrease is likely.

If value is increasing faster than average – or going up while the average home declines in value – taxes are likely to go up.

A home that is about average compared to others of its type won’t see a major change in property taxes.

People can look up their own home, or any other address, and find out its assessed value through BC Assessment’s online portal at www.bcassessment.ca. Property owners will also be receiving assessment notices in the mail in the coming days.

People who disagree with the assessed value of their home can appeal it with BC Assessment.

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