Valley turns a corner: Ada property values rise

Property values across Ada County increase for first time since a 2008 peak, and new construction is showing huge growth

cmsewell@idahostatesman.comJune 6, 2013 

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    One factor that affects a home's tax bill is its taxable value - which is lessened by the amount of the Idaho homeowner's exemption.

    The maximum exemption, an offset based on the federal housing price index, is $81,000, down from $83,974 last year.

    Why did the exemption decline if values are climbing?

    The exemption is set on the prior year's information, so there is a lag time. In addition, it reflects statewide housing numbers, and most of the state is not increasing at the same rate as Ada County.

    The exemption was highest in 2009, when it was nearly $104,500.

    Idaho exemptions:

    2013 $81,000

    2012 $83,974

    2011 $92,040

    2010 $101,153

    2009 $104,471

    2008 $100,938

    2007 $89,325

    2006 $75,000

    1983-2005 $50,000

    1980-1982 $10,000


    All county assessors are required by state law to assess the value of all taxable property every year. In Ada and Canyon counties, physical inspections are conducted every five years. In other years, the assessor determines values by analyzing construction costs and reviewing recent sales data gathered from the Multiple Listing Service, property owners, Realtors, builders, developers and independent appraisers.

    If you think your assessed value is higher than what your property would probably sell for on the open market, you may appeal. The appeal addresses the market value of your property, not property taxes.

    When property values peaked in 2008, the Ada County Assessor's Office received 2,936 appeal applications. In 2012, when property values hit their lowest point, the county received 828 appeal applications. Ada County Assessor Bob McQuade anticipates a comparable number this year. About half of appeals result in an adjustment, he said.

    Appeal forms are available at, at the Ada County Assessor's Office, 190 East Front Street, Suite 107, or from the Ada County Commissioner's Office, 200 W. Front St., 3rd Floor.

    Property value assessment appeals must be filed by 5 p.m. June 24. For information, call the assessor's office at 287-7200.


    The median value of homes in the 17 areas surveyed by the Ada County Assessor's Office compared to last year. Also listed is the change from 2012.

    1. North Boise

    $206,700 +9.20%

    2. Northeast Boise $259,000 +7.06%

    3. Southeast Boise $154,050 +7.64%

    4. Boise Bench

    $114,000 +14.06%

    5. South Boise

    $157,000 +7.22%

    6. Southwest Boise $152,900 +7.16%

    7. West Boise/Garden City $121,800 +9.64%

    8. West Boise

    $145,400 +14.64%

    9. Garden City

    $96,400 +3.90%

    10. Northwest Boise $150,800 +7.59%

    11. Eagle

    $270,000 +7.71%

    12. Star

    $164,000 +15.23%

    13. Southeast Meridian $203,500 +13.21%

    14. Southwest Meridian $175,800 +12.84%

    15. Northeast Meridian $164,150 +12.94%

    16. Northwest Meridian $153,500 +13.10%

    17. Kuna

    $122,900 +15.24%

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.


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

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