After three years of double-digit declines, Ada County property values leveled out in 2011, with a decline of just 1.7 percent last year.
Ada County Assessor Bob McQuade said real estate is now beginning a slow climb out. Hitting rock bottom entailed a 33 percent decline in assessed property values in just four years.
The median assessed value of an Ada County home peaked in 2008 at $208,100. This year, that number is $138,800.
Assessments mailed in recent weeks are for property values as of Jan. 1, 2012.
In Canyon County, the trend of dwindling property values continued, dropping about 8 percent countywide from 2010 levels, Chief Deputy Assessor Joe Cox said. That’s slightly less than the 8.5 percent drop reported from 2009 to 2010.
CHANGES BY AREA
The changes in home values over the past year ranged from a 5.9 percent decrease in Southeast Boise to a 1.3 percent increase in Northwest Meridian. Eleven of 17 Ada survey areas saw declines, and five — South, Southwest and East Boise, northeast Meridian and Star — recorded no change in value. Just two areas recorded an increase, both in Meridian.
Some of the grimmest news came from Caldwell, where property values dropped by 11 percent in 2011, Cox said. In Nampa, the decline was about 9 percent.
ASSESSMENTS AND TAXES
Lower property values do not necessarily translate into lower taxes.
For example, on one Southeast Boise home, the assessed value has declined 28 percent from 2008 to 2012, but property taxes increased 4 percent over the same period.
That’s because, ultimately, property tax bills are determined by the levy rates set by individual taxing districts where a home is located. When property values drop, these districts can increase rates to keep the same level of revenue.
There are 41 taxing districts in Ada County, including the county, cities, schools, emergency medical services, and library, cemetery, mosquito abatement and irrigation districts. These taxing districts will set their respective budgets and levy rates in September. Each can raise budgets by 3 percent, plus a percentage for new construction.
Another factor affecting a home’s taxable value is the homeowner’s exemption, which is based on the federal housing price index. This year the maximum exemption is $83,974, down from $92,040 last year. It was highest in 2009 at $104,500.
Throughout Canyon County, properties that lost the most value were those built in 1975 or earlier, Cox said. Market interest has focused on three-bedroom homes less than a decade old, which often are sparking a bidding war.
Much of the drop in Canyon County values is represented by homes that were foreclosed on, he said.
Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell