Sun Valley construction

Peter Reitmann works on a Sun Valley home on Friday, May 13. Sun Valley property values went up nearly 40% in 2021, according to new assessments from Blaine County.

The total assessed value of properties in Blaine County rose by approximately $5 billion in 2021, a gain of just over 36%.

That’s according to the Blaine County Assessor’s Office, which has assessed property values across the county and is preparing to send out assessment notices for 2022.

The assessed value of all properties in Blaine County on Jan. 1, 2022—the date on which the Assessor’s Office sets preliminary values for 2022 tax assessments, based on market values in 2021—was approximately $18.955 billion. The assessed value for 2021—based on market values from 2020—was approximately $13.932 billion.

The median assessed value of residences in all of Blaine County was slightly over $662,000 on Jan. 1, up from approximately $533,000 the year before, the Assessor’s Office reported.

“Blaine County, along with the rest of Idaho, continued to see an increase in property values,” Blaine County Assessor Jim Williams said in an email to the Express. “Some areas saw more significant increases than others.”

The assessed values are determined by sales information from the previous year.

Property values increased significantly in all areas of the county, with cities in southern Blaine County leading the way. The 2022 preliminary values by location are:

  • For unincorporated Blaine County, the total value is approximately $6.53 billion, up from just under $4.8 billion the previous year, an increase of 36%.
  • Ketchum rose from about $3.9 billion to $5.2 billion, approximately 33%.
  • Sun Valley values climbed from about $3.3 billion to just over $4.6 billion, up almost 40%.
  • Hailey values climbed from about $1.54 billion last year to about $2 billion this year, up approximately 35%.
  • Bellevue values rose almost 42% year-over-year, from about $318 million to just over $450 million.
  • In Carey, the total value increased from just over $50 million to almost $75 million, rising nearly 49%.

The figures do not represent how individual property values might have increased, Williams noted. Some properties in an area might have larger or smaller increases, depending on various factors, such as location, property type and age.

While the assessed values will ultimately be factored into property-tax bills later in the year, the amount of those bills is far from decided, Williams said.

The Assessor’s Office plans to send the notices off by June 1 and is required to do so by June 6. Property owners can then review their assessments and can call the Assessor’s Office if they have questions, Williams said. If a property owner thinks the 2022 preliminary value does not accurately reflect 2021 market conditions, county appraisers can assist them in an appeal for a change.

The values must be certified later in the year, Williams noted.

Though higher property values can equate to higher property taxes, it is not an automatic assumption, said Blaine County Treasurer John David Davidson. Several factors come into play that can raise or lower one’s tax bill, he said.

“Everybody gets scared if they see higher values, but it doesn’t always mean higher taxes,” Davidson said.

One major factor is the taxing districts in a property’s area. While there’s not a legal limit to how much a property’s tax bill can increase in Idaho, the myriad taxing districts—including cities, school districts, recreation districts and others—can only raise the property-tax portion of their budgets by 3% each year. However, more taxes can be taken if voters approve them—such as through bonds or overrides—or if new annexations and construction are included.

The tax rate that owners ultimately have applied to their property is derived from a complex equation of dividing the amount of property-tax funding for districts in an area by the taxable values.

Often, when property values increase, the applied tax rate decreases—though the amount owed can still increase. Factors such as an Idaho homeowner’s exemption—which provides a value deduction to people who own and occupy a property as their primary residence—can reduce the final tax bill.

Ultimately, the amount of an owner’s property-tax bill cannot be definitively determined until after taxing districts complete their budgets and values are certified, Davidson said.

Blaine County tax bills will be issued in late November and are due by Dec. 20.

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