Cook County’s commercial property owners can still expect significant assessment hikes under Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi but they don’t necessarily need to brace for huge increases in their tax bills, according to a report by Cushman & Wakefield.
Kaegi is living up to his campaign promise to deliver more accurate estimates of commercial property values. His predecessor, Joe Berrios, who is under federal investigation, routinely under-assessed commercial properties.
Kaegi started his three-year reassessment in 2019 with the north and northwest suburbs, where valuations for commercial, industrial and large apartment complexes increased by more than 74 percent, compared to nearly 16 percent for homes.
“With recent commercial property reassessments coming in very high, our clients are understandably concerned about how a dramatic increase in tax liabilities might affect the long-term value of their investment,” Cushman & Wakefield Vice Chair Paul Lundstedt said in a statement. “But as this guide shows, a higher assessed value doesn’t necessarily translate to a higher tax bill. In fact, because the tax rate is likely to fall as assessments go up, some buildings may not see any tax increase and perhaps a tax reduction.”
Evanston is highlighted in the report as a case study for how property taxes may be impacted by higher assessments in other parts of Cook County.
The report forecasts that Evanston’s tax rate for 2019 and 2020 will fall to nearly 5.7 percent, from the actual rate of 9.4 percent in 2018. That means a property whose assessed value rose 66 percent between 2018 and 2019 would not see a change in property taxes, while taxes would increase by about 20 percent if the assessed value doubled or by about 50 percent if they tripled.
This report could ease widespread concerns of the looming assessments — and the uncertainty surrounding them — further slowing commercial property sales.
The south and west suburbs will be assessed in 2020, followed by the City of Chicago in 2021.