14 May, 2024

Adding up the numbers

A Morayfield resident who has meticulously researched and correlated local land valuations with rate rises over the past 23 years, is concerned about the effect the new valuations will have on ratepayers.

Morayfield resident Chris Evans has been left baffled and concerned about new land valuations.
Morayfield resident Chris Evans has been left baffled and concerned about new land valuations.

Chris Evans was told in March that his 10-acre property’s land value had increased by a massive 60 per cent since 2021, the single largest jump since 2005.

Valuations across the other 23 properties on his road have also risen between 59 and 61 per cent, according to the Queensland Government Department of Resources.

Mr Evans said he feared the worst for households.

“With homeowners already struggling to cope with recent interest rate rises, and a cost of living crisis, it seems likely that many will be unable to pay, and will fall into debt,” he said.

Both Moreton Bay and Somerset councils have said they will do their best to cap rate rises, but were unable to comment further until the budget meeting in July.

But Mr Evans is among those expressing his unhappiness with the new valuations and is bracing for a huge rise in rates.

“From 2019 to 2023, the official unimproved valuation of this property has increased 25 per cent,” Mr Evans said.

“Over the same period, the general council rate portion of the total rate charge has increased by 18 per cent.

“Assuming that this relationship of 25 to 18 continues to apply, then an increase in valuation of 60 per cent will produce an increase in the general council rate portion of the total charge of 43 per cent, making it $2368.50.”

When adding the five extra items included in the total annual rate charge and taking those into consideration with the inflation from 2021 to 2023, Mr Evans calculates his rates might increase by roughly 37 per cent, rising from $2043.80 (2023-2024) to $2804.85 (2024-2025).

Mr Evans said that, while authorities had attempted to explain their valuation assessment of his property, “it’s not an accurate depiction, as the four undeveloped blocks listed in their letter are tiny blocks on housing development estates, under an acre in size. It’s hardly a realistic sample to use when valuing a 10-acre block”.

According to the latest land valuation released by the Queensland Government on March 26, City of Moreton Bay local government area saw residential land increase an average of 31.8 per cent, with Morayfield area alone seeing an increase of 41.2 per cent, and rural residential land an increase of 49.4 per cent.

Mr Evans’ property is zoned as rural residential and is “somehow valued 60 per cent”, he said.

“All of us in this area are on ten acres, and I cannot see why we have been singled out by the valuers to suffer a valuation so much greater than the average.”

ReMax real estate agent Chris Wease has said he thinks ratepayers are justified in their concern and alarm about the rateable values increasing significantly, but added average property owners (being owner occupiers) don’t need to be too concerned as Moreton Bay Council has capped the rateable increase amount to a maximum of 9% for the 2023-24 budget. (The 2024-25 has not been set yet, so this may or may not change).

“I think this points to a failure of councils to communicate properly and proactively with their property owners and residents about what it means to them,” he said.

Mr Wease added that, despite the land valuations in Moreton Bay and Somerset increasing significantly this year, both councils enjoy some of the lowest rates in SEQ.

He also said rates are necessary for Council to provide key services and infrastructures, with more focus needing to be given to the use of the funds.

“I think the bigger question residents need to ask is: are funds collected from our rates being used responsibly and efficiently?

“You don’t have to go too far to see eye-watering waste and inefficiencies from council departments.”

A Moreton Bay Council spokesperson said Council cannot yet “advise what effects these valuations may have on rates” given the 24-25 budget has not been discussed yet.

“As a Council, we are very aware of cost-of-living pressures and will ensure these are highly considered during our upcoming budget process,” they said.


Most Popular