Big rural land valuation increases put down to land market optimism

A 2018 annual land valuation program snapshot, provided by the Valuer-General's department.
A 2018 annual land valuation program snapshot, provided by the Valuer-General's department.

Rural landholders in local government areas across Queensland’s south west were told on Wednesday that confidence in the state’s rural economy has been reflected in an increase in the majority of primary production land values.

Maranoa Regional Council and Murweh Shire Council landowners received the biggest shock when new land valuations were announced on Wednesday morning – the total value change of rural primary production land in Maranoa is 59.6 per cent and in Murweh, the increase in value is 52.9pc.

Queensland’s Valuer-General, Neil Bray, said the new valuations echoed the spur in economic activity and a continued level of optimism that surrounded rural land markets during 2017.

“This increase in rural land values can be attributed to the continued effects of strengthened beef prices and low interest rates, which have generally resulted in increases in Queensland’s rural property markets,” Mr Bray said.

“Increases in rural values have generally occurred throughout the majority of areas revalued in 2018.

“There were significant increases in rural land sales across Maranoa, Goondiwindi and Sunshine Coast, Murweh and Douglas shires.

“A review of rural valuations across councils in south west Queensland was also undertaken to improve the consistency of land valuations across different rural locations,” Mr Bray said.

Maranoa’s increase comes on top of a 24pc rural valuation rise last year.

Mayor, Tyson Golder, said he was personally in favour of a rates freeze in the forthcoming council budget in response.

“They obviously have to have sales evidence to make these decisions, but I know a lot of people are struggling,” he said.

“Rates are a serious part of people’s business and I’d like to keep them under control so people are happy to be in the Maranoa region.”

He said if the nearly 60pc rural land valuation flowed onto rates, it wouldn’t be sustainable for people.

“Valuers have got to do their thing and councils do their thing too,” he said.

Murweh council spokesman, Ken Timms, said the differential rating system would most likely be adjusted to make sure any variations were minimised.

“Rural rates won’t go up 53pc, in other words.”

He said the values set by the Valuer-General were a surprise.

“We knew there’d be a change but not the big variance,” he said.

Murweh, Hinchinbrook and Banana local government areas recorded an overall decrease in residential values of 57.9 per cent, 22.2 per cent and 1.5 per cent.

The range of rural valuation increases across other south western shires varies greatly, from 26.3pc in Quilpie, 20.2pc in Barcoo, 19.8pc in Diamantina, and 19.3pc in Boulia, to a 3.5pc increase in the Paroo shire and 2.7pc in the Bulloo shire.

AgForce spokesman, John Moore, said the biggest concern was that some people’s rent could go up a lot.

He said he certainly didn’t think Maranoa’s rural property market had gone up to the extent reflected in the valuation increases of last year and this year, but said he would have to look at the detail before commenting further.

The 22 local government areas receiving new valuations this year were Banana, Barcoo, Boulia, Bulloo, Central Highlands, Charters Towers, Diamantina, Douglas, Fraser Coast, Gladstone, Gold Coast, Goondiwindi, Hinchinbrook, Isaac, Maranoa, Murweh, Noosa, Paroo, Quilpie, Scenic Rim, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba, representing 41pc of the total land area of Queensland or 29 per cent of the properties on the state valuation roll.

The new valuations will take effect on June 30 for local government rating, state land tax and state land rental purposes.

A new online search feature for landowners to find their land value information has been released to coincide with the issue of annual valuations.

It displays annual valuation information from the existing online valuation roll, residential market tables and mapping products into one easy-to-use online search accessible on desktop and mobile devices.

The search tool also displays the movement in the residential median values of major residential localities and local government area as a whole.

Landowners who believe their valuation is incorrect can lodge an objection online, via post at the address shown at the top of their valuation, or by phoning 1300 664 217 for an information kit. Objection notices must be submitted by 8 May 2018.