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Rates won’t rise as quickly as house prices in south-east Queensland

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The real estate boom has forced the Valuer-General to delay metropolitan land valuations until the market settles down.

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In December, the independent State Valuer-General listed the local government areas due for new land valuations in 2021, curiously omitting Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

Now, in answer to a question on notice from the Opposition, Resources Minister Scott Stewart has explained that the decision followed market surveys and consultation with industry groups.

“There was concern that sales activity in the residential sector may be artificially inflated by economic stimulus packages. This will not be fully understood until the cessation of those stimulus packages, expected to be in March 2021,” Stewart wrote.

“It is recognised that valuation uncertainty and market volatility was expected as a result of COVID-19; however, there is insufficient sales evidence, particularly in the commercial sector, which includes office, retail, shopping centres, hotels etcetera to determine the impact on site values.”

According to CoreLogic, Brisbane house prices rose by four per cent during the first year of the pandemic, and limited supply is predicted to keep pushing prices higher. Some regional areas of Queensland have also experienced a property boom.

Stewart said that while some commercial sectors had been adversely impacted by the pandemic, such as commercial office space, retail, tourism and hotel industries, sectors such as bulky goods, grocery retailers and petrol stations continued to operate “at near full strength”.

“At the time of decision, there was insufficient market evidence to draw accurate conclusions as to the market position in the major centres of south-east Queensland,” Stewart wrote.

The decision will mean the underlying land value used to calculate rates and some taxes in south-east Queensland will remain unchanged until at least 2022.

Fresh valuations will still be done in Balonne, Banana, Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall-Tambo, Bulloo, Burdekin, Central Highlands, Charters Towers, Cook, Diamantina, Gladstone, Gympie, Isaac, Longreach, Maranoa, Murweh, Paroo, Quilpie, Somerset, Southern Downs, Tablelands, Toowoomba, Western Downs and Whitsunday council areas.

There are around 1,000 objections to valuations allowed every year. It remains to be seen whether any rural or regional landholders will be able to successfully appeal pandemic-era price hikes, or what the impact in tourism-dependent Whitsunday will be.

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