Rates hike to hit homes
Christchurch homeowners will likely shoulder much of the burden for the lost central city when new rates bills are finalised.
Valuers spoken to by The Press yesterday expected the upheaval caused by the city's earthquakes would create an unprecedented shift in who paid what when residential and commercial properties were revalued for rating purposes next year.
New Zealand Valuers Institute Canterbury representative Will Blake forecast a "big shift in where rates will fall".
"There's been a huge loss of rating value in the CBD - thousands of millions of dollars of rating value has gone. The value of new construction will be nowhere near that and that rates burden will be passed to the residential sector," he said.
About 1800 commercial buildings are down or coming down in Christchurch , including most of the city's tallest buildings and large swathes on land earmarked for the city frame and anchor projects.
The council's acting head of corporate services, Diane Brandish, said the rating base in the central business district would "go down significantly".
She expected extra commercial rates outside the central business district to take up some of the shortfall, but said the added burden on homeowners might "not necessarily" be large.
"The exact shift between different property types won't be clear until the revaluation is complete," Brandish said.
Valuer Chris Stanley, director of Telfer Young, said that while plenty of new office buildings were going up outside the CBD, they would not be rated until they were finished.
"We've seen the demise of so many large, very high-value buildings in the CBD - just look at Cathedral Square," he said.
"There will be a big shift of rates burden right across the sectors - the whole property equation for the city is up in the air," Stanley said.
Christchurch's total rates take this financial year has been set at $333 million, up 7.7 per cent on last year, rising to $356m next year and $382m by 2015-16.
Individual valuations will determine how owners' rates bills will change, with the council hiring state-owned Quotable Value to do its valuations.
They will be the first since 2007 and will apply from next July. Owners will be told their new valuations in March.
Both Brandish and the valuers also expected a shift in the residential rating base towards the north and west, due to fast-rising house prices in those parts of the city.
Owners of rebuilt homes face a jump in rates, as will those where the market is hottest. Valuations for homes in badly damaged suburbs will have smaller rises.
Sales of uninsurable damaged "as-is-where-is" homes will not be included when determining market values for homes nearby.
Damaged houses will be valued as if repaired but uninhabitable homes will continue getting rates remissions until June 30. The rates remission will be factored into other ratepayers' bills.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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