Objections to rateable values total 62,000

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2006, 12:00am

Property owners in Hong Kong have submitted 62,000 objections to the government during this financial year about the assessment of their new rateable values, the Commissioner of Rating and Valuation, Lo Hing-chung, said.

Only 4,570 of the objections, or more than 7 per cent, resulted in a drop in the rateable value. The average reduction was about 11 per cent.

Each year, on average, more than 50,000 objections are lodged with the government, with about 10 per cent of the cases having their assessments lowered.

Rates are levied quarterly and assessed at 5 per cent of a property's estimated annual rental value.

'The rateable values of about 85 per cent of properties are valued with the assistance of computers, with the remaining 15 per cent, mainly commercial properties such as shops, assessed manually,' Mr Lo said.

The Rating and Valuation Department needs to assess the rateable values of roughly 2.2 million properties within four months each year - a tough challenge - he said.

As a result, the department is developing improvements and enhancing its computer systems to try to increase its efficiency.

With the Land Registry, the department is spearheading the development of a HK$9.5 million property information hub project.

The public-private partnership project, which will see the government and the private sector collaborate on the venture, will be tendered next year.

It is due to start operating at the beginning of 2008. The system is designed to be a one-stop shop and will offer the public access to the combined property data of the two departments.

Other services will be provided for a fee.

Mr Lo said that making such information more easily accessible for the public would facilitate property transactions and boost market transparency.