Blaine County’s six-year property-value boom continued in 2018, according to preliminary adjustments based on sales and market information conducted by the county Assessor’s Office—but the county still has a ways to go to reach pre-recession heights.
Last year, property values grew by 6 percent countywide—a jump of nearly $600 million—bringing the total to $10.53 billion, based on data from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018, that, by state law, generates 2019 assessments. That’s still far from their prerecession peak of $12.45 billion in 2008. But the most recent numbers continue Blaine County’s steady rise from 2012, when values bottomed out at $8.1 billion.
“We’ve seen all kinds of increases, in different areas of the county,” Assessor Jim Williams said. “It looks similar to the past three or four years—we know values are going up. I think [the office] has a pretty good picture of what’s going on out there.”
Residential properties rose at a slightly lower rate, Williams said. The median value of a residence as of Jan. 1, 2019, stood at $423,612, up 3.9 percent from $407,811 the year previous.
Overall, the 6 percent increase is on par with the 5.7 percent jump calculated for 2018. Once again, cities led the charge, paced by Hailey and Sun Valley, which both jumped 9.68 percent year over year. Meanwhile, growth flattened in the unincorporated county, which makes up the largest single piece of the pie, worth some $3.3 billion; there, the 3.46 percent growth rate was off about a percentage point year over year.
But Hailey’s steady rise continues to pick up the slack. This year’s jump backs up a strong value increase in 2018, bringing the two-year increase to 22.8 percent. That’s more than twice that of Ketchum, which grew at the slowest pace among cities for a second straight year, despite a two-year increase around 9 percent.
Despite broad growth, numbers can vary wildly based on fine adjustments applied to individual properties. Some sites increased more, while others remained flat or decreased, according to Williams.
Right now, 2019 figures are preliminary. Owners can challenge the accuracy of their valuation before the Board of Equalization, which is composed of the county commissioners. By law, assessments are required to be between 90 and 110 percent of market value, and all are reviewed annually by the state. The first step to appeal individual assessments is to call the Assessor’s Office at 208-788-5535 prior to the fourth Monday in June—this year, June 24—to discuss the number, Williams said. Afterward, land owners can file an appeal with the board.
A change in value does not necessarily mean a change in taxes. That depends on the budget requirements of county and municipal taxing districts, which will be set in September. Based on the requests, the county Treasurer’s Office determines that tax rate and amount due—though, in general, properties that saw the greatest increases will end up paying more.
Either way, the total property tax increase is capped at 3 percent annually by Idaho code. For a preliminary idea of your bill, Williams recommends going to the State Tax Commission’s property tax estimator at tax.idaho.gov/i-1072.cfm.
“We have to be at market value, based on sales information,” Williams said. “If there’s better information that we haven’t received yet, give us a call.”