Boise & Garden City

Brace yourself: Ada and Canyon tax assessments are coming, and they’re shockers

As prices rise, home building booms from Boise to Caldwell

Home construction is booming from Boise to Caldwell in Southwest Idaho, but home prices are still setting records, worsening the shortage of affordable housing for moderate-income buyers.
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Home construction is booming from Boise to Caldwell in Southwest Idaho, but home prices are still setting records, worsening the shortage of affordable housing for moderate-income buyers.

Ada County homeowners are in for a big surprise when they get their annual tax assessments as soon as next weekend: Median residential property values have risen by more than at any time in at least 12 years.

Across the county, the median assessed residential property value rose 16.4 percent in 2018, according to new data from the Ada County Assessor’s Office. That compares with about 12 percent in 2017 and 8 percent each in 2016 and 2015.

Eagle had the smallest increase, 12.3 percent. The Boise Bench had the highest, 20.3 percent.

In Canyon County, the story is much the same. The assessed value of homes in urban Nampa rose 15 percent and in urban Caldwell 17 percent, the Canyon County Assessor’s Office reported. A countywide median home price was not available.

The acceleration of home values in the seventh year of the Treasure Valley’s economic boom is more good news for owners planning to sell their homes, more bad news for potential buyers of moderate means, and a mixed bag for taxpayers.

Higher assessments do not themselves lead to higher taxes. That’s up to taxing districts like cities, counties and school districts, which will set their 2020 budgets in coming months.

“There isn’t a one-to-one ratio there,” Ada County Assessor Bob McQuade said in an interview Friday. “An increase in assessed value does not equal an increase in tax.”

But owners with the fastest-rising assessments are the most likely to pay more on next December’s property-tax bills than they paid a year earlier.

McQuade attributes the surging values primarily to people coming to Boise from expensive areas, such as the West Coast, after selling even more expensive homes there and using the proceeds for cheaper homes here.

Boise and Ada County are “great destinations,” McQuade said, because the area is more affordable while still having a lot of amenities.

“People are selling for $800,000 in California, Oregon, Washington, and they’re coming here and buying a brand new house for $300,000, $400,000,” he said.

He said the 3.6 percent growth in Ada County’s population also plays a role. As more people move to the county, land becomes more valuable, McQuade said. He told the Ada County Highway District Commission on May 8 that the county’s population rose 18,000 in 2018 to 471,000 — an average of 49 new people per day.

The median residential property value is calculated by finding the point where half of all values are higher and half are lower. The Ada County Assessor’s Office calculates medians for neighborhoods following boundaries set by the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service used by real estate agents. Boundaries in Boise are not identical to the city’s recognized neighborhoods but often overlap. There are 17 MLS areas in Ada County.

The median assessed value of all residential properties sits at $294,700. The highest median is in northeast Boise, which includes much of the Foothills, at $482,700. The lowest is in Garden City, at $236,350.

However, eastern Garden City has had the highest percent change in its median assessed residential property value since 2014. That has been fueled by new housing in the city. Values there have risen 95.8 percent since 2014.

A neighborhood of West Boise and western Garden City has had the second-highest growth at 92.2 percent, followed by southwest Meridian at 89.8 percent. Another portion of West Boise had the lowest growth rate at 44 percent.

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Assessments are expected to be mailed by Friday, May 24, McQuade said, and homeowners could receive them as soon as the next day.

Because the assessed value is based on the market value as of Jan. 1, some owners might even consider their assessments to be a little low. Sales prices since Jan. 1 have set records: Ada County’s median hit $355,000 in March and Canyon’s hit $248,500 in April, according to the Intermountain MLS.

If you think your assessment is way off, McQuade encourages you to call the number on your notice. That will connect you with the person who appraised the property. Appraisers are always open to discussion and new information, he said.

People who still aren’t satisfied can file an appeal with the Ada County Board of Equalization. The board, whose members are the Ada County commissioners, is tasked with equalizing value and enforcing “a proper classification and assessment of all property,” according to the Idaho Association of Counties.

The days of the $200,000 house in Ada County are gone. Only some condos and homes in poor condition are available in that price range, McQuade told the highway commission.

McQuade predicted Friday that the strongest growth will continue in Meridian, Star and Kuna, particularly as high prices continue to outstrip wage growth and push people out of Boise and into cheaper suburbs.

A potential threat to such growth? A recession, which some business executives predict could happen as soon as the end of the year.

“If that happens, that will change the whole market,” McQuade said. “I just bring that up because who knows what’s going to happen next? That could change things a lot. So much is tied to the economy.”

100. North Boise

2019: $410,550, +18.3%

2018: $342,450, +10.4%

2017: $305,800, +8.6%

2016: $276,100, +13.3%

2015: $243,700, +7.4%

2014: $227,000, +11.5%

200. Northeast Boise

2019: $482,700, +13.1%

2018: $426,900, +11.9%

2017: $381,300, +8.8%

2016: $347,350, +11.7%

2015: $311,100, +6.8%

2014: $291,300, +10.8%

300. Southeast Boise

2019: $305,100, +14.8%

2018: $266,300, +14%

2017: $233,800, +10%

2016: $211,400, +8.5%

2015: $194,800, +10.9%

2014: $175,700, +12.3%

400. Boise Bench

2019: $234,800, +20.3%

2018: $194,100, +12.8%

2017: $170,700, +9.7%

2016: $155,700, +7.2%

2015: $145,250, +10.04%

2014: $132,000, +16.5%

500. Southwest Boise

2019: $301,300, +16.7%

2018: $240,500, +10.6%

2017: $233,450, +8.7%

2016: $214,500, +5.1%

2015: $192,200, +4.4%

2014: $184,100, +16.2%

550. Southwest Boise/Meridian

2019: $285,200, +18.3%

2018: $257,650, +10%

2017: $215,000, +8%

2016: $198,800, +9.3%

2015: $189,200, +4.7%

2014: $180,800, +12.9%

600. West Boise

2019: $241,600, +18.7%

2018: $203,400, +13%

2017: $179,800, +9.5%

2016: $164,600, -7.9%

2015: $178,300, +6.3%

2014: $167,700, +15.2%

650. West Boise/Garden City

2019: $271,700, +16.7%

2018: $230,700, +11.6%

2017: $204,400, +7.3%

2016: $189,700, +6.4%

2015: $150,300, +6.3%

2014: $141,350, +17.5%

700. Garden City

2019: 236,350, +19.1%

2018: $190,200, +12.5%

2017: $169,500, +10.8%

2016: $144,800, +6%

2015: $136,600, +13.2%

2014: $120,700, +18.9%

800. Northwest Boise

2019: $298,550, +17.4%

2018: $253,100, +11.5%

2017: $219,200, +7.5%

2016: $200,000, +9.6%

2015: $182,400, +5.4%

2014:$173,100, +15%

900. Eagle

2019: $467,300, +12.3%

2018: $418,800, +9.8%

2017: $379,800, +6.6%

2016: $353,500, +7.3%

2015: $329,300, +5.1%

2014: $313,400, +13.2%

950. Star

2019: $327,000, +16.8%

2018: $276,000, +12.1%

2017: $243,500, +7%

2016: $225,200, +10%

2015: $204,800, +7.5%

2014: $190,500, +16.8%

1000. Southeast Meridian

2019: $340,900, +13.1%

2018: $301,200, +12%

2017: $266,100, +6.3%

2016: $247,800, +5.8%

2015: $234,200, +2.5%

2014: $228,600, +12.9%

1010. Southwest Meridian

2019: $372,500, +15.7%

2018: $322,100, +9.4%

2017: $294,300, +6.8%

2016: $274,900, +33.6%

2015: $205,700, +4.8%

2014: $196,300, +12.5%

1020. Northeast Meridian

2019: $297,700, +16.2%

2018: $254,200, +10.9%

2017: $229,100, +7.2

2016: $211,200, +7.2%

2015: $197,100, +7.2%

2014: $183,800, +11.1

1030. Northwest Meridian

2019: $282,300, +14.4%

2018: $243,350, +10.3%

2017: $218,900, +7.8%

2016: $201,050, +5.2%

2015: $191,200, +6.9%

2014: $178,800, +15.4%

17. Kuna

2019: $245,700, +17.8%

2018: $205,800, +11.6%

2017: $183,500, +8.7%

2016: $166,500, +7.9%

2015: $154,300, +6.3%

2014: $145,100, +18.9

Source: Ada County Assessor’s Office

Business Editor David Staats contributed.

Ada County MLS districts
The Ada County Assessor uses MLS districts to determine the boundaries of neighborhoods. Ada County Assessor's Office

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Hayley covers local government for the Idaho Statesman with a primary focus on Boise. Previously, she worked for the Salisbury Daily Times, the Hartford Courant, the Denver Post and McClatchy’s D.C. bureau. Hayley graduated from Ohio University with degrees in journalism and political science.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.

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