Hunter rate rise on cards

RATE rises are likely  for many Hunter residents with increases  in land values recorded throughout the region.

The latest valuations from NSW Valuer General Philip Western have been sent  to residents of 45 local government areas, including Newcastle, where the value of residential land has shown a ‘‘moderate increase’’ in the past three years.

Homes in Cooks Hill, Adamstown, Merewether, Hamilton and New Lambton recorded a strong boost in their values based on property conditions at July 2012, while Wallsend and Maryland remained steady or showed a slight increase.

The  last valuation for Newcastle was in July 2009.

‘‘Increases or decreases in land values do not necessarily lead to similar increases or decreases in rates,’’ Mr Western said.

Newcastle City Council determines its rates based half on a base or flat charge per property and the remainder on the land value multiplied by a rate on the dollar.

Real Estate Institute Newcastle Hunter divisional chairman Wayne Stewart said the valuations reflected the demand for properties in  Cooks Hill, where there had been high sales turnover.

Low interest rates, low property prices and good economic growth in the Hunter meant ‘‘all the stars are aligning out there for a very strong year in property ... especially in the high demand areas,’’ Mr Stewart said.

Values in  Dungog  showed a slight decrease in residential land, ‘‘reflecting the tight market conditions that have affected the area’’, Mr Western said.

Singleton was among the areas that experienced the largest increases in median land values, up by 7.1per cent.

Valuations for commercial land in Newcastle were slightly down,  due to the effects of the global financial crisis.

Overall, land values across NSW   fell  by 0.36per cent in the year to June 30, 2012.

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