Deadline close for valuation objections
Cape Town property owners have one week in which to pull out all the stops in lodging municipal valuation objections, writes Anna-Marie Smith
WITH little time left to substantiate objections to municipal valuations by April 30, several services remain at the disposal of property owners. Consumers can access a time-efficient, comprehensive online property evaluation report service such as offered by PropIQ, or seek the assistance offered by local property agents willing to substantiate historic, market related information in writing.
Cape Town’s 2009 general valuation roll, which has been open to public inspection and objection at 18 public venues since 22 February, includes 780 000 properties in the Cape Metropole.
This new valuation roll, to be used as a basis for property rates from July this year for the next three to four years, provided property owners with a 60-day objec- tion period to valuations believed to be incorrect. The city says objections may relate to any information displayed on the valuation roll, providing it is substantiated by factual information.
Christopher Gavor, director of the City Valuation Office, says: “Our aim is to come up with a valuation roll that is acceptable to all residents and property owners, because the values are fair and equitable and reflect market conditions as at the date of valuation (1 July 2009).”
Gavor said that in addition, statistical control measures will be used to make sure the results conform to international standards for mass appraisals, and valuers will analyse whether the values generated reflect market conditions as at the date of valuation.
PropIQ, a professional online service provider, launched a user- friendly property evaluation service on March 1, mainly targeting property professionals, as well as buyers and sellers.
PropIQ manager Colin Day says the service gives customers the ability to obtain not only market-related values of single properties, but also those of neighbouring properties.
For a fee, and by simply completing a street address and area code, consumers can obtain a comprehensive evaluation report within minutes.
This report includes three different values, namely “expected high” supported by a confidence level figure, an “estimated value” supported by an “accuracy score” in percentage points, and “expected low” supported by a “safety score” in percentage points.
The “estimated value” is derived from a sophisticated statis- tical calculation of values from various sources, including the Surveyor-General Office Deeds Office of recent sales in the area, banks and estate agents.
Serving the purpose of a guideline, it should ideally be used with other available information, including improvement or deterioration of the property/dwelling since the last sale.
The “safety score” is the percentage of probability that the “estimated value” is reasonable and not over-inflated. Especially useful to lenders, it ensures bond amounts are reasonable for the property, and a score exceeding 70% is considered high.
The “accuracy score” is another statistical figure that determines the probability that the “estimated value” will be within 20% of the selling price, especially useful for buyers and sellers, and a score over 60% is considered high.
PropIQ’s evaluation report includes most information required to complete an objection form, and for buyers, sellers or property professionals it also provides a list of local amenities, financial and transfer history of the property.
Also included in the report are useful bar graphs illustrating suburban trends, average property prices and number of sales in the area for the past six years.
Estate agents in and around Cape Town have been inundated with requests for assistance, and some are offering free services in supporting evaluation objections on behalf of property owners.
Keith Searle of Pam Golding Fish Hoek, who sold R16,5m worth of property between January and March this year, says owners of vacant plots on the Fish Hoek “mountainside”, where no access roads or council services exist, are experiencing highly inflated municipal evaluations. Searle says that where values, sales trends and market patterns can be substantiated, his office has supplied documented evidence to prove inflated values.
Gavor, speaking for the city, said: “I believe we have done all we can, given the huge challenges, to ensure a fair, uniform and transparent general valuation. We have put in the hard slog, we have tested our systems, and we are confident that the end result will be received with due regard for the fairness of the process.”