Councils eye competitive valuations

In a bid to encourage competition in the land valuation market, councils in the Waikato region are to consolidate their valuation information databases.

In a bid to encourage competition in the land valuation market, councils in the Waikato region are to consolidate their valuation information databases.

Environment Waikato regional information bank programme manager Jim McLeod says an independent database comprising the land valuation rolls of around 12 councils could be used by valuers, opening up the market.

District councils commission valuers to assess what properties are worth. These assessments go into council databases as properties’ capital values and also on to land valuation rolls. Prior to 1998 all valuations were done by Valuation New Zealand. That year the government deregulated the industry, pushing valuation responsibility back to the councils. Quotable Value New Zealand, previously Valuation New Zealand, still conducts valuations for more than 80% of New Zealand’s councils.

In the Waikato region only one company, Australia-based Valuation and Management Services (VAMS), has entered the market, but McLeod says a collection of officers from the councils in the area want a more competitive valuation service market to keep costs down and service standards up.

“We are collectively saying, to resolve the problem of a potential monopoly in the valuation market we could develop an independent repository of regional property information which covers the 180,000 properties in the region. This could provide benefits to the region by reducing duplication of processes, economies of scale, and improved data security and management."

Environment Waikato, acting on behalf of the Waikato Regional Rating Valuation group, which consists of local authority rating and valuation officers, has put out a request for information on options and scenarios for the delivery of such a service.

It refers to the supply, and ongoing support of infrastructure, tools, processes and resources required to support the data management requirements of the district valuation rolls. He says the service may be supported by existing software solutions, by newly developed solutions or combinations of new and existing software.

McLeod says once a consolidated database is set up, extra spatial information could then be overlaid on to it by linking to GIS systems.

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