After four consecutive years of declines, Ada County residential property values spiked almost 12 percent last year. Commercial values increased nearly 3 percent.
Even bigger news is the increase in new construction, said Ada County Assessor Bob McQuade.
The total value of new residential and commercial construction in 2011 was $278.1 million. That amount skyrocketed 76 percent last year to $490.2 million. The bulk of the new construction - $214.2 million - took place in Meridian. Boise recorded $144.4 million and Eagle took in $74.9 million.
Property assessments mailed in recent days are for values as of Jan. 1, 2013. The new values are those on which 2013 property taxes will be calculated, although tax bills don't go out until late this year.
In Ada County, the median assessed value of a home peaked in 2008 at $211,600. This year that number is $153,900, way less but an 11.6 percent increase over 2012.
Residential property values went up in every area surveyed in Ada County. The increase ranged from about 15 percent in Kuna and Star to about 4 percent in Garden City, with double-digit growth throughout Meridian and the Boise Bench.
Last year, just two areas - both in Meridian - recorded an increase.
Of course, the numbers are general trends in those areas. Individual properties can go up or down based on a sale, a physical appraisal or a trend calculated on a neighborhood's comparable sales.
Canyon County was not able to provide summary information about its property assessments, but values are generally up, said Chief Deputy Assessor Joe Cox. Ada's McQuade said the state's urban counties - Ada, Canyon and Kootenai - are the first to show strong broad value increases since the downturn.
ASSESSMENTS AND TAXES
Higher property values do not necessarily translate into higher taxes.
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 42 taxing districts in Ada County, including the county, cities, schools, emergency medical services, library, cemetery, mosquito abatement and irrigation districts. These 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 since 1980 has been the Legislature's way of offering Idahoans property tax relief. In 2006, the state changed the law and indexed the exemption to the federal housing price. The exemption is the same throughout the state and is not adjusted to reflect regional differences within Idaho.
This year, the maximum homeowner's exemption is $81,000, down from $83,974 last year. It was highest in 2009, at $104,471.
Property tax bills for 2013 will be mailed by late November.
The first half of your 2013 property tax bill is due Dec. 20. The second half is due June 20, 2014.
Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell