Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Property values stagnant

Assessment notices to go out by June 2

Express Staff Writer

A slowing housing market has led the Blaine County Assessor's Office to reduce 2007 property valuations in several areas, County Assessor Valdi Pace told the Blaine County Commission Tuesday.

Elsewhere throughout the county, the best that property values did last year was hold steady, Pace said. Only in several isolated locations did property values rise in 2007, she said.

Pace said the lower property values help explain why the county assessor's office saw a jump in the number of reported real estate sales last year. She said that for 2007, the office received data on 279 real estate transactions.

She said that compares to just 181 transactions reported to the office in 2006.

"So there's an increase in reporting," she said. "However, there was fewer sales this year than last."

County appraiser Mickey Dalin, responsible for assessing property values in the Bellevue area, told the commission that without exception he is seeing softening property values in the south-county town.

"I have no areas that are increasing," he said. "The lots in Bellevue are going down dramatically."

Pace said she hasn't yet come up with a preliminary assessed value for the entire county. She said she may have that figure completed sometime later this week.

The Idaho Legislature this year considered but did not pass a bill that would have required real estate sales disclosure data to be provided to county assessors. However, it did amend existing legislation to clarify that sales prices are not confidential client information and can be disclosed to other real estate agents.

Pace said that next month, members of the Sawtooth Board of Realtors will vote on whether to allow the county assessor's office to be a part of the local multiple listing service. She said every member will have to vote yes for that to happen. If it does, the county assessor's office will be able to access all the real estate sales data for Blaine County, Pace said.

Commissioner Tom Bowman said that if the board of Realtors votes no on the matter, it should expect the county to act to require real estate sales price disclosure.

"I'm pretty sure if they don't go forward with that we'll enact our own ordinance," Bowman said.

Pace said the assessor's office will mail assessment notices to local property owners by June 2. She said the deadline to appeal those assessments is Monday, June 23.

The county Board of Equalization, comprised of the three-member Blaine County Commission, will begin meeting soon after the appeals come in. The commissioners will wrap up their consideration of those appeals by Monday, July 14.

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