Residents in Newcastle's inner suburbs will pay a higher share of the city's rates burden this year after above-average growth in their land values.
Newcastle West (52 per cent), Newcastle East (44 per cent), Newcastle (41 per cent) and Maryville (30 per cent) land values increased by more than double the city-wide average of 14.13 per cent between the NSW Valuer General's 2016 valuations and the latest July 2019 pre-coronavirus assessment on which the next three years' rates will be based.
A suburb-by-suburb breakdown of land-value rises provided by City of Newcastle shows the expanding western suburb of Fletcher, at 26 per cent, completed the top five growth areas.
Inner suburbs The Junction (24 per cent), Wickham (23 per cent) and Cooks Hill (23 per cent) were also in the top eight for land-value increases.
Stockton (21 per cent) and Adamstown Heights (20 per cent) rounded out the top 10.
At the other end of the scale, land values in Birmingham Gardens grew only 0.3 per cent between 2016 and 2019, and Rankin Park, Tarro, Elermore Vale and Black Hill had rises below 4 per cent.
The Valuer General found land values in fashionable Merewether grew 13 per cent, just below the city average, across the three years.
The rural hamlet of Martinsville, west of Cooranbong, enjoyed the biggest rise in the Lake Macquarie local government area at 30 per cent, followed by Bolton Point (29 per cent), Wyee (28 per cent), Freemans Waterhole (27 per cent) and Jewells (25 per cent).
The average land-value rise in Lake Macquarie was 14.99 per cent.
Suburbs which have experienced an above-average rise in land values will pay a higher share of total rates when the first 2020-21 notices go out in July.
"As there is a significant range in valuation changes, individual properties could vary substantially in rates payable," City of Newcastle's draft 2020-21 budget says.
Lake Macquarie's Pinny Beach had a 3.6 per cent drop in land values from 2016 to 2019, according to the Valuer General's valuations, but neighbouring Caves Beach was one of the top performers with a rise of 24 per cent.
Rankin Park values fell 0.4 per cent, and Booragul, New Lambton Heights and Seahampton rounded out the Lake bottom five with rises of less than 2 per cent.
Newcastle and Lake Macquarie rate notices will comprise a base rate of $795 and $747 respectively plus an amount based on land value.
The average rate bill in Newcastle in 2020-21 will be $1960, including $1586 in rates plus a waste charge of $374.
The average rate in Lake Macquarie will be $1946, comprising rates of $1495 and a $451 waste levy.
Maitland Council will have the highest average rates in the Hunter at $2207 in 2020-21, the final year of a seven-year stretch in which it has been allowed to hike its total rates income by 7.25 per cent annually.
Lake Macquarie, Newcastle and most other NSW councils will raise their total rates revenue by the maximum 2.6 per cent allowed by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.
A valuation report prepared for the Valuer General by consultants Preston Rowe Paterson found a fall of 7 per cent in the total value of residential land in Newcastle from 2018 to 2019 after a 22.8 per cent gain across the previous two years.
"The value decreases were generally consistent across most areas and classes of residential property in the local government area aside from larger residential lots capable of density development," PRP's report said.
"Fletcher also varied from the general trend, with steady values supported by ongoing demand for new land releases."
The total value of residential land in Lake Macquarie fell 4.6 per cent between 2018 and 2019 after jumping 19.1 per cent in the two preceding years.
PRP chief executive officer Bob Dupont said the sharper land-value rises in inner Newcastle reflected a move towards higher-density living.
"They no longer put a house on 600 square metres; they lop it in two and you've got two houses," he said.
"It's also a factor that as people's wealth increases they like to live in the more prestigious areas. They just pay more."
Mr Dupont said Bar Beach, where land values rose 17 per cent in three years, had "become the area" for high property prices.
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN THE NEWS:
- Lions attack Shoalhaven zookeeper, woman in critical condition
- Approved 13-bedroom house not to be used for short-term letting
- Newcastle mum Cassie Johnston in the fight of her life as she battles clear cell sarcoma
- Hunter Indigenous leaders say still a fair way to go on road to reconciliation
- Newcastle art gallery, libraries start to reopen but museum stays shut
- Opinion: Through sands of time, the evidence is clear on Stockton Beach