Count­down for home own­ers

Cape Town prop­erty own­ers are due to view the 2012 gen­eral val­u­a­tion roll next month, writes Anna-marie Smith

Business Day - Home Front - - HOMEFRONT -

ONLY three years have passed since Cape Town’s pre­vi­ous gen­eral val­u­a­tion of 750,000 prop­er­ties took place in 2009. This re­sulted in the June 2011 an­nounce­ment of rates as­sess­ments based on cents in the rand of 0.006062 for res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties, and re­bate of R200,000.

Ian Neil­son, ex­ec­u­tive deputy mayor and may­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for fi­nance, de­scribes reg­u­lar val­u­a­tions as wise, as long pe­ri­ods be­tween re-val­u­a­tions re­sult in sig­nif­i­cant shifts in val­ues. He says: “That is why the city has cho­sen to have an­other gen­eral val­u­a­tion af­ter three years since there have been shifts in the prop­erty mar­ket over the pe­riod. The new gen­eral val­u­a­tion has a val­u­a­tion date of 1 July 2012 (GV2012) and will be im­ple­mented from 1 July 2013.”

Such shifts were seen in the hugely in­flated house prices dur­ing the 2007 boom, fol­lowed by his­toric de­cline to rock bot­tom in 2009. The FNB House Price In­dex data shows real price av­er­age growth (af­ter in­fla­tion) na­tion­ally at 2.3% higher in 2010 than in 2009, and av­er­age house price growth of 3.3% in 2011, and 5% in 2012. From 21 Fe­bru­ary own­ers will know mar­ket val­ues of their prop­er­ties as seen from the City’s per­spec­tive, when the GV2012 of 800,000 Cape Town prop­er­ties is pub­lished.

To achieve fair as­sess­ments, the Lo­cal Government Mu­nic­i­pal Prop­erty Rates Act no 6 of 2004 states that all prop­er­ties on the val­u­a­tion roll must be val­ued at mar­ket value, de­fined as “the amount the prop­erty would have re­alised if sold on the date of val­u­a­tion in the open mar­ket by a will­ing buyer to a will­ing seller”.

How­ever, what con­sti­tutes mar­ket value re­mains a co­nun­drum to prop­erty own­ers. For most the best of both worlds would mean max­i­mum as­set value as well as fair treat­ment when it comes to paying rates and taxes.

And so, to en­able a fair process Neil­son says the city’s team of val­u­a­tions staff, all qual­i­fied and reg­is­tered pro­fes­sion­als as re­quired by the act, have been col­lect­ing and re­view­ing sales that took place since July 2009. The mu­nic­i­pal val­uer uses sales data in the com­puter-as­sisted mass ap­praisal of prop­er­ties, a com­puter aided an­a­lyt­i­cal pro­ce­dure used by trained pro­fes­sional valuers, that “makes val­u­a­tion cheaper and faster, but no less fair”.

Also play­ing a vi­tal role are pri­vate in­dus­try op­er­a­tors such as pro­fes­sional valuers and qual­i­fied prop­erty pro­fes­sion­als, gear­ing up to pro­vide own­ers with in­de­pen­dent val­u­a­tions. When ob­jec­tions to the city’s val­u­a­tion are lodged, and val­ues re­main un­changed, an ap­peal may be submitted to the Pro­vin­cial Val­u­a­tion Board for re­view­ing by an in­de­pen­dent body of pro­fes­sional valuers.

Eu­gene Pien­aar, fran­chisee for Raw­son Prop­er­ties Con­stan­tia/Wyn­berg fran­chise, says the up­com­ing role could lead to many home own­ers who pre­vi­ously held un­re­al­is­tic views of val­ues now re­al­is­ing lower cur­rent mar­ket val­ues. Pien­aar says mar­ket val­ues could be as much “as 20% lower than it was at the peak pe­riod of 2007-early 2008”.

The pub­lic in­spec­tion and ob­jec­tion pe­riod starts on Fe­bru­ary 21 and ends on April 30. Own­ers have to en­sure that val­u­a­tion cer­tifi­cates reach them by post, says Elizabeth Laing, the city’s man­ager of val­u­a­tions, by pro­vid­ing cor­rect postal ad­dresses. Those not in re­ceipt of cer­tifi­cates can view the roll on­line or at an ob­jec­tions cen­tre as listed on the city’s web­site, and ac­knowl­edge­ment no­tices are is­sued for ev­ery ob­jec­tion re­ceived.

Neil­son says leg­is­la­tion does not make pro­vi­sion for late ob­jec­tions af­ter the close of the ob­jec­tion pe­riod on April 30 this year.

Pic­ture: THINKSTOCK

Cape Town home own­ers are brac­ing for the next round of reg­u­lar val­u­a­tions of their prop­er­ties to be re­leased.

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