MORE than 1000 beach box owners on the Mornington Peninsula are facing a 4.6 to 4.8 per cent rate rise as their beachside assets have increased in value.
The highly sought after beach amenities are not included in the state government’s 1.75 per cent cap that applies to privately-owned property throughout the shire.
There are more than 1200 boat sheds and bathing boxes on the peninsula, most of which are simple, free-standing storage sheds used by individuals and families to store beach equipment, boats and a place to get changed.
Owners pay an annual licence fee – partly based on capital improved value – of around $725 to $925 a year.
With rates largely based on capital improved value (CIV), this year’s expected rate rises are certain to hurt hip pockets.
About 20 years ago, buyers could snap up a beach box for under $50,000 but, along with other real estate on the peninsula, values have escalated in the past two to three years, with some of the boxes now selling for six figures. Licence transfer fees are set to rise from $3260 to $3400.
Last year a box at South Beach, Mount Martha sold for a record $650,000 and, in November, a Rye beach box sold for $570,000, twice its asking price. One Portsea beach box sold in 2018 for close to $1 million.
Secretary of Mornington Peninsula Beach Box Association, Rick Galliene, said the high prices being paid beach boxes were “mildly disturbing” as they were mainly kept in families and passed on to the next generation, and should not be considered investments.
He said the price rises had the potential to change the way people viewed them and may encourage more people to sell.
Mr Galliene said he also expected many beach box owners to challenge their rates, as was their legal right.
“We did a survey recently and the general response was that the boxes are for family events, for kids and grandkids to enjoy,” he said.
“Higher rates might just change whether people can afford to keep them.”
An officer’s report to the council meeting on 7 June noted boatsheds had experienced “higher than average” value growth over the past decade.
The peninsula had 1303 rateable boatsheds of which 60 had been sold during 2021.
The report found that rises in beach box values had been “largely driven by increased buyer demand as people change their lifestyles choices, opting for a sea or tree change”.
Restricted international travel was also found to have led local holidaymakers to the boatshed market, again increasing buyer demand and ultimately values.
Since 2018, the shire has levied an annual $340 waste services charge on beach box owners.
The Mornington Peninsula Beach Box Owners Association owners last year unsuccessfully fought against the “fees for no service” charge and then asked the shire for help in paying its Supreme Court costs (“Beach box group seeks shire leniency” The News 11/10/21).
Changes to the management of beach boxes on shire controlled beaches proposed to be phased in by 2025 include licences only being granted to peninsula ratepayers and residents, restricting the number of licences to one a person and not making any extra land available for beach boxes.