One Auckland single mum says she had a "panic attack" when opening her new council rates bill this month, while another ratepayer says she plans to leave the city because of its "poor" services.
Other ratepayers have described receiving new bills up to 30 per cent higher than last year at a time when Auckland's creaking infrastructure is battling to keep up with new housing developments.
The single mum, who works as a high school teacher while also picking up a second job after hours to make ends meet, told the Herald her bill had not only jumped about $200 a quarter, but that she was also hit with two bills back-to-back totalling almost $1400.
"I had a panic attack looking at the email from Auckland Council," she told the Herald.
"I called them and cried, they put me through the credit control team and asked me to pay it monthly."
The rate hikes come at a time when homeowners are also facing other cost of living pressures and mortgage interest rate rises.
Auckland Council earlier estimated that 373,555 city property owners will have to pay higher bills this coming year, while 138,275 will have cheaper bills.
Of those facing higher bills, 139,359 will have rates charges rise by more than 10 per cent, council said.
A further 234,196 will have bills rise by less than 10 per cent.
The overall rates increase across the city is 5.6 per cent, including a new targeted rate for climate action.
However, the average household rates increase is 6.4 per cent due to a plan to gradually reduce business rates and make homeowners pay more.
Sandra Yeats, who lives in Huapai in Auckland's northwest, said her rates bill had jumped about 16 per cent.
Part of the reason was the area had changed from rural to urban zoning, she said.
She said that with the new urban zoning, she had expected to see more investment in infrastructure to accommodate the housing subdivisions springing up everywhere.
"Wrong," she said.
"This area was recently in the news because the roads are in such poor condition that locals are now working together to repair them."
"There has been no infrastructure investment or improvement, the traffic and road conditions are appalling ... we pay for our own waste management ... there are no real parks, the library is old ... [and] we still have to pay rural post."
Yeats said she recently moved to Huapai from Cambridge in Waikato to be with her partner.
Huapai was beautiful and the residents lovely, but she now planned to move back out of Auckland within two years because of the grinding traffic jams and terrible infrastructure.
Just travelling 6-10km through Kumeu to the start of the Northwestern Motorway could take 40 minutes outside of peak hours due to the traffic, she said.
Glenn Campbell from Half Moon Bay in Auckland's east, meanwhile, said his rates jumped 25 per cent since last year, rising from $895 per quarter to $1117.
While the extra charges were a hit to his pocket, what he found most perplexing was the way his home was valued.
He said his property had earlier been valued at $1.6 million in 2017, comprising $1.3m for the land and $300,000 for his home.
However, in the council's most recent valuation as of July 2021, his property had been rated as worth $2.1m, including $2m for the land and just $100,000 for his house.
Nick Goodall from property analysts CoreLogic said the quirky result could be due to valuers changing the way they classified many of Auckland's properties during the most recent valuation.
He said some properties that had earlier been classified as single dwelling properties were now being reclassified according to the size of their land sections.
Those with large sections big enough to support the future development of townhouses and apartments were now often being valued much higher, with the land being the key point of value and the house much less so, Goodall said.
This had happened across much of south Auckland, which had become a hotspot for sales to developers during the recent house price boom.
Rhonwen Heath, Auckland Council's head of rates valuations and data management, said her team understood some Aucklanders "may be feeling concerned" with the "added pressure" of their new bills.
"If you're worried about being able to pay your rates, please pick up the phone and call us on 09 301 0101," she said.
"We can talk through some options such as rates postponement and flexible payment. More information on this can be found on our website."
The first rates instalment is due on August 31.