Cape Town property valuations raise fears of soaring rates

Some Cape Town homeowners are upset about the city's valuation of their properties and fear municipal rates will become unaffordable.

Up to 3 000 people have filed objections with the City of Cape Town since it published its 2012 general valuation roll of 815 676 properties last month.

The value of properties was derived from sales around July 1, 2012.

Pensioners Vera and Karl Stulpner from Alexandra Avenue in Oranjezicht said they were shocked when they first saw the valuation of their three-bedroomed home.

Stulpner said she couldn't believe it when she saw the city had recorded that their house was worth R4.6 million compared to R3.3m back in 2009.

"That is impossible, it's more than 40 percent increase. We didn't do any renovations the past few years. I don't know how they came to this," said Stulpner.

They bought the house for R200 000 in 1988 soon after the family immigrated here when Karl, an engineer, was employed as a designer of the SAS Drakensberg.

Stulpner lodged an objection last week and hopes the city will reduce their valuation to R3.7m.
The city recorded 24 sales in Oranjezicht between 2011 and last year, and properties sold for between R3.1m and R5.8m. "If the valuation stays the same we won't be able to afford the rates," she said.

They pay on average R1 700 in rates every month based on the current valuation.
"I have a very small pension and we depend largely on my husband's. If things continue we will have to sell our house and move into a smaller place," she said.

Gaby Noble, a teacher, said the valuation of their home in Vredehoek had increased from R2.9m to R5m since 2009.

"With what we earn, there is no way we can pay R2 000 in rates every month. That is more than double what we pay now," she said.

Estate agent Michael Hauser said that he had helped several homeowners to file objections.
The valuation of his own flat in Vredehoek had increased by 70 percent, from R1m to R1.7m.
"The city must have a system that flags the property if the value increased by more than 20 percent," he said.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said to date the city had received just over 3 000 objections - an average of 15 objections per venue per day.

There are 17 city venues where residents can lodge objections until the end of the month.
Rates, based on the new valuations, will be billed from July 1.

(Cape Times)

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