Average rates increase lower than planned

The housing problem was especially bad in Queenstown, where a lack of jobs and the difficult...
Photo: ODT files
Higher-than-predicted growth in Queenstown Lakes property values means the average rates increase will be lower than expected.

An unexpected rise in the total number of properties has also provided a tempering effect.

The combined result is a rates increase for owners of median-value homes in Queenstown and Wanaka about half that forecast for 2021-22 in the 10-year plan.

In his report for Queenstown Lakes district councillors at their online meeting yesterday, finance general manager Stewart Burns said the average increase would be 4.38%, down from the 5.45% forecast after budget changes resulting from public submissions.

The rates information in the 10-year plan, adopted on June 30, had been the "best estimate at that time", Mr Burns said.

However, it could change as a result of changes in rateable property values occurring between the adoption of the draft plan in March and the final plan.

The numbers show property values have increased 3.55% instead of the estimated 2.5%: up 4.11% in the Wanaka ward, and 3.3% in the Wakatipu and Arrowtown wards combined.

Helping keep the lid on rates was higher than predicted growth in the number of rateable properties — to 30,229 in the current financial year from 28,573 the year before, a rise of 5.8%.

Cr Quentin Smith said he would have pushed for more spending on items such as track and trail renewal or additional debt repayment had he known the average rates increase would be so much lower than expected.

However, Cr Penny Clark said the district’s businesses would appreciate having lower rates bills.

"In commercial land we need all the help we can get."

Council chief executive Mike Theelen said it was "better to err on the conservative side" when estimating capital growth, hence the use of a 2.5% assumption.

For a residential property in Queenstown with the median rateable value of $1,090,000, the final rates increase will be 2.73% instead of the draft increase of 5.19%, while in Wanaka ($845,000) it will be 2.77% instead of 5.21%.

Overall, residential rates will rise between 1.49% to 6.39% depending on a property’s value, location and type.

Most businesses will have an increase of between 0.85% to 5.72%.

guy.williams@odt.co.nz

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