Outrage over house values

2008-02-22 00:00

The city’s new valuation roll has been greeted with outrage by Northdale residents, who were shocked to discover that their houses have been valued at R1 million or more.

The residents, who live next to a squatter camp and whose properties are close to Lotus Park, a high crime area, say no houses in their area have been sold for R1 million in the last five years. They cannot understand how the municipal valuers arrived at these figures.

The residents were among the first to inspect the new valuation roll, which is based on market value and was released yesterday.

Estate agents who have had a cursory look at the roll agree that there seems to be huge discrepancies. An agent said he found that Northdale, a suburb that is largely made up of sub-economic homes with plot sizes between 350 and 500 square metres, has a number of properties valued at R1 million and more.

However, Orient Heights, a more middle-class area with large plots and larger houses, hardly hits the million mark.

One resident was particularly irate after learning that his property was valued much higher than that of a friend living in Lincoln Meade.

His friend bought the house two years ago for R800 000, yet on the new roll his house is valued less at R650 000.

“My friend lives in a gated community on tabletop land with a swimming pool and his kitchen has granite finishes.

“My house was bought for R13 000 more than 26 years ago. It was one of those sub-economic homes built by the government. Over the years I have carried out a few renovations, but the basic structure still exists. It is in a panhandle, built on an incline and accessible via a steep driveway. I have no swimming pool and no granite tops.”

Similarly, another Northdale resident contacted a relative who lives in the Botanic Gardens area and found that their property, on 900 square metres of land with oregan floors and swimming pool and a much larger house was valued at less than a million.

Estate agents were equally shocked to learn of these high values and all confirmed that they have never sold a house for R1 million in that area.

They said these residents struggle to sell their houses because of the high crime rate in that neighbourhood.

Blackie Zwart, Msunduzi municipal manager for real estate and valuations, confirmed that they received a host of queries, including some from people who said they were not on the roll.

“This is precisely what we are looking for. We want people to object to fill in their forms and let us know about discrepancies so that we can sort out these problems. This is what we have said all along that we are going to use the objection process to clean up the roll,” he said.

Zwart called on people who do not find their properties listed on the roll to also fill in objection forms, so that they can sort this out.

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