Auckland Council again delays CV revaluation due to Covid

Aucklanders are set to wait even longer to find out their home’s new council valuation after the local government body again delayed citywide revaluations because of Covid-19.

A source of fascination to property-mad Kiwis, Auckland Council CVs – formally known as capital values -can affect prices homes sell for as well as the rates bill, but will now not be released until December.

Council sends new CVs to home and property owners every three years, and the latest were originally due to have been released last year.

But because of swirling economic uncertainty after the Covid-19 pandemic began last year, council sought and gained permission to delay revaluations until this year.

Last month it announced that it expected to release the CVs in October.

But with Auckland plunging back into level 4 lockdown last month because of the latest Covid outbreak, the date has now been pushed back further.

“Level 4 restrictions affect the council’s ability to complete the final stages of the valuation process and the Valuer General’s ability to conduct an onsite audit of these values,” council said.

“The release of Auckland Council’s updated property values in October has therefore been delayed and will now be available in December 2021.”

New council valuations are usually met with keen interest from mum-and-dad homeowners, retirees and property investors.

Homeowners wanting to sell often hope for a new higher CV in the belief it might help convince future buyers to pay more for their homes.

Higher CVs can also convince banks to lend more money to those wanting to borrow.

But residents with no intention to sell can face a higher Auckland Council rates bill if their new CV jumps too much in value.

Overall, most city residents can expect CVs to jump compared to the July 1, 2017, valuation.

Herald and CoreLogic mock CV estimates last month showed the median house prices rose in each of the 228 Auckland suburbs featured in the data.

Last year, the council was given permission to delay its Auckland revaluation process, after arguing that attempts to estimate home values in the uncertain market created by Covid-19 would likely produce distorted results that might be unfair to home owners.

“Property valuations are generated using recent sales data of comparable properties and other relevant market evidence such as rental levels,” the council said.

“Due to Covid-19 there was limited data available. As a result, the Valuer-General agreed to Auckland Council’s request to defer its 2020 general revaluation for one year.”

The council recently restarted the revaluation process by pretending every city home had been sold on June 1, 2021, and then estimating the most likely selling price for each one.

But today it said that its “dispersed workforce” together with Covid restrictions limiting movement made it tough to finish the final stages of the revaluation process.

“Additionally, the Valuer General is not able to travel to Auckland to conduct the audit of the council’s revaluation as planned,” council said.

“The Valuer General’s audit is an extensive exercise, with Auckland Council being the largest revaluation in New Zealand by a significant margin.”

“Therefore, it is important the Valuer General can conduct the audit onsite if possible, for ease of access to the council’s systems and to test valuation processes.”

The delay would give time for Auckland to move to a less strict alert level allowing the Valuer General to go onsite at council offices, or provide council staff with time to set up the process for a virtual audit to take place.

“This issue is not exclusive to Auckland, and other territorial authorities with a 2021 revaluation may also experience delays,” the council said.

Auckland Council has also earlier cautioned that revaluations and expected price rises among city homes are just one factor determining how much each household pays in rates.

“What will determine a rates increase is if your property value has increased more than the average increase across the region,” council said.

“If your property increases in value, but this increase is below the average, this may mean you will pay less in rates.”

CVs also do not change the total dollar amount the council collects from rates.

The council instead decides how much money it wants each year, and then uses CVs to help work out the share each home and commercial property owner pays.

The council has already decreed it intends to raise $2.3 billion from rates in the 2022/2023 financial year – the first year the new CVs come into effect.

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