What is unimproved value?
The unimproved value is what the block of land is worth subject to its highest and best use under the lease conditions. It does not include any improvements on the land, such as buildings, landscaping, paths and fences.
This is different from the full value or market value of the block.
The value of your land determines the rates and land tax charges.
We send all property owners a valuation notice with their annual rates assessment notice. This includes the property's unimproved value as of 1 January that year.
For valuation purposes, we treat unit title developments as single properties and send the valuation notice to the owners corporation; we don’t send individual valuation notices to unit owners.
To search for the unimproved value or your property for the current year and the last two years, click on the 'Find your unimproved value' button below.
How are values assessed?
Valuers assess the unimproved value of each block by looking at the sale prices of similar properties. When possible, they use the sale price of vacant land in the area for comparison, making adjustments for any individual differences, such as size, location, aspect and view that may impact the value of each block.
If there have been no sales of vacant land in the area or in comparable areas, valuers work from the sales of improved properties and deduct amounts for improvements. From this information, they calculate an unimproved value of the sale blocks and use these to assess the unimproved value of other blocks.
Why do values change?
Land values rarely remain the same over time. Values within the same area and between areas may change, and the prices people are willing to pay when they buy property are good indicators of these changes. To make sure the land values used for determining rates are as current as possible, our office engages qualified contract valuers to carry out a general revaluation of all parcels of land annually.
Residential Property Values
The determination of residential unimproved values and rates
The unimproved value of residential property is reviewed each year and values are redetermined as at the base date 1 January.
For suburban blocks, sales are analysed by locality and if the number of sales is statistically significant, property values will be adjusted to reflect the sales related data. Where there are no sales of vacant land, sales of improved land (house and land) will be included and adjusted to determine the change in the underlying land value.
The change in the unimproved value for residential unit sites from year to year is determined by sales of comparable vacant development land. These sales are typically infrequent and consequently unimproved values for units tend to move less uniformly from year to year than suburban blocks. For example, the unimproved value of a unit complex might not change for three years then record a double digit increase in the fourth year, once there are a sufficient number of sales to support a change in value.
Over the last several years there have been a number of sales of large residential unit development sites across the ACT. These sales have been used to adjust unimproved values for similar residential unit complexes. * This smooths-out the effect of a large change in values in any single year.
* For units, the variable component of the rates charge is based on the AUV of the complex and allocated on the basis of unit entitlement.
Residential Unimproved Values for 1 January 2020
Residential unimproved values for rating purposes across the ACT increased on average by 3.6 per cent from 1 January 2019 to 1 January 2020. Suburbs in the Woden Valley had the largest increase of 7.5 per cent with suburbs in Tuggeranong having the smallest increase of 1.4 per cent.
For 1 January 2020, a comprehensive valuation review was undertaken on properties in the Woden Valley district. This involved redefining localities and regrading particular properties that were out of alignment with other similar properties. Relativities between property values in Woden Valley and other districts are now more comparable, as are relativities between property values within the suburbs of Woden Valley. Properties in O’Malley and Farrer had the largest increases in value from the review.
For 2021 a comprehensive valuation review will be undertaken for Tuggeranong.
Individual residential property values can be found here.
2020 Commercial Valuations
Unimproved commercial property values
Commercial unimproved values for rating purposes are re-determined for 1 January each year.
Commercial unimproved values are backward looking and are not adjusted until there is a significant body of sales evidence to support a change to the value. With the ACT’s small commercial property market, there is generally a lack of sales volume to justify frequent small adjustments to unimproved values. Hence, changes in commercial unimproved values tend to be lumpy and intermittent. The Legislative Assembly has recognised this with the passing of amendments to the Rates Act 2004 in 2020 to ‘smooth out’ the impact of large changes in unimproved values on general rates by transitioning to a five year average unimproved value (AUV) for rating purposes by 2021-22. For 2020-21, the AUV is based on a four year average of unimproved values.
In 2020-21, the Government set marginal rating factors for properties with an AUV of $2 million or less to ensure that there was no overall increase in rates revenue derived from this group of properties.
Valuation program for 1 January 2020
The overall change in commercial unimproved values from 1 January 2019 to 1 January 2020 for rating purposes in the 2020-21 financial year is an increase of 5.9 per cent. More than 50 per cent of commercial properties had no change to their unimproved value. Individual commercial property values for the last 4 years are available at https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/services/unimproved-value.
Commercial property values in local centres have been reviewed centre by centre over the last few years. The 2020 changes now make unimproved values broadly consistent and comparable across local centres. Around 60 percent of local centre properties had no change to their unimproved value in 2020.
The group centres of Dickson and Gungahlin had not been comprehensively reviewed for some time and the increases in 2020 reflect a catch up in changes in value that had occurred over a number of years. The group centres of Belconnen and Greenway (Tuggeranong) were also reviewed and values did not require significant adjustment.
Some increases were made to Kingston property values but further work is required to ensure all properties are at the appropriate benchmarks reflecting sales evidence of recent years. This work will be undertaken for the next rating period.
Commercial property values in Barton increased on average by 22.5 per cent. This was mainly due to significant changes in a small number of large commercial properties that were updated in line with recent property sales data and realigned with benchmarks for the area.
Some significant sales in Phillip took place in 2018 and 2019 and this has been incorporated into 2020 unimproved values for related property types. Around 40 per cent of properties in Phillip were already at benchmark values and had no change.
The precincts of Mitchell, Hume and Beard were comprehensively reviewed and the unimproved value of a significant number of properties in each precinct was increased to move to within the benchmark range for the location. The unimproved value of around 18 per cent of properties in these precincts were already at the benchmark level and their values remained the same. A number of individual properties in the Hume and Mitchell precincts will need to be reviewed again and adjusted next year.
A review of Fyshwick commenced but was not completed, hence, there was no change to Fyshwick values in 2020. The review will be completed next year and it is expected that there will be some increase in values in Fyshwick to reflect sale prices recorded over the past few years.
Changes in unimproved value for commercial property by area can be found here.
Valuation program for 1 January 2021
For 1 January 2021 the valuation program will focus on:
- completion of a review of Fyshwick;
- individual revaluations for certain properties in the precincts of Mitchell and Hume;
- updating values in Kingston; and
- refining local centre values.
Objecting to a valuation
If you think your property's latest unimproved value is incorrect, you can lodge an objection to the new land value.