Cape Town homeowners could be in for a nasty surprise when results of the city’s 2012 General Valuation Roll are released in late February. Revised rates will be published on the City of Cape Town’s website this month, based on an assessment of 800,000 properties within city boundaries that took place on 1 July last year.
Valuations, which are based on actual property transactions that have taken place in the three years since the city’s last rates hike in 2009, were conducted using a mass appraisal method. This method assigns weighted values to various property attributes such as size, outbuildings and views.
City officials have assured rates payers that their comparative market analysis system is accurate, having been significantly refined since the first city-wide valuation in 2000. However, homeowners will have the opportunity to contest the revised valuations should they disagree with the city’s findings.
Rates payers will have until the end of April to lodge their objections, but according to Property24 General Manager, JP Farinha, this isn’t a process that should be entered into without sufficient grounds.
“The city’s mass appraisal method is becoming progressively more accurate, and as a result, objections to revised property values are unlikely to be considered if based purely on comparisons to other houses in the area,” explains Farinha. “While the system is by no means foolproof, homeowners looking to have their claims heard will need to substantiate them with factual data, based on professional appraisals from industry experts.”
The city’s valuations are conducted by professional valuers, statistical analysts and data collectors, and are informed by a number of diverse factors. Over and above more traditional elements such as location and number of bedrooms, assessments take into account everything from subdivisions and renovations to additional construction or demolition. Vacant land is also double rated in order to encourage building, and properties seen to be income generating tend to be ascribed higher, commercial rates.
As a result, Farinha believes it’s imperative that those looking to lodge a claim do their homework.
“In order to substantiate a claim, homeowners will need to have a comprehensive understanding of the various grounds used to assess the value of their home,” says Farinha. “Qualified estate agents are well placed to provide an accurate assessment of a property’s market value, as they use similar methods to those employed by the city, and can thus interrogate the various evaluated factors thoroughly.”
Homeowners looking to perform their own research to support their claim can also make use of Property24’s Property Values service, which uses sophisticated statistical information to provide accurate and immediate value appraisals.
“Property24’s Property Values service allows rates payers to undertake a complete assessment of their property’s value from the comfort of their own home,” explains Farinha. “Valuations on the site incorporate information from the Deeds Office, and take into account price trends and recent sales in order to ensure accuracy. Armed with this type of information, homeowners have a far greater chance of success when lodging their claim.”
The City of Cape Town has advised rates payers that they will need to continue to pay their required rates until such point as their objection has been resolved. New rates will come into effect from July 2013.
For more information on Property24’s Property Values service, please visit http://www.property24.com/property-values.