Friday, June 14, 2013

County property values leveling off

Sun Valley condominiums up 37 percent, south valley still dropping

Express Staff Writer

    Property values in Blaine County are leveling off after four years of sharp declines, according to new data from the Blaine County Assessor’s Office.
    Estimated values for 2013 will be almost equal to the county’s assessed values in 2004, before the spike in prices during the housing bubble, and some areas are seeing increases.
    Total taxable values in Blaine County for 2013 will decrease 1.8 percent, based on data from the 2012 calendar year, the latest period for which the county can make assessments. Values dropped from $8.24 billion in 2012 to $8.1 billion this year, a nearly 35 percent drop from the property value peak of $12.4 billion in 2008.
    The County Commission will finalize the assessments during the next two weeks.
    County Assessor Valdi Pace said changes in property values vary widely across the county.
    Most South Valley values, including those in Bellevue, Hailey and Carey, are down between 6 and 20 percent. However, a few areas saw increases. Commercial land in Hailey is up 30 percent and values in the original Hailey town site increased by 10 percent.
    “Some people are not happy that their values go up, because they will be paying more taxes,” Pace said. “Others are happy they go up because the market is recovering.”
    Land values from the Ketchum city limits south to Greenhorn are up about 10 percent, while prices from East Fork south to the Hailey City limits saw a decrease of 10 to 14 percent.
    Sales data in Ketchum and Warms Springs indicate a decrease in value of 3 to 10 percent, while values of residential condominiums in Sun Valley are up 37 percent.     
    Vacant lots in Woodside subdivision decreased by 10 to 15 percent. West Hailey subdivisions, including China Gardens, went down about 15 percent. These were some of the hardest hit areas of the county during the real estate crash. County assessors called them “foreclosure areas” in 2010 because the vast majority of home sales there were either foreclosures or at foreclosure prices because homeowners were seeking to sell fast.
    “There are hardly any foreclosures compared to two years ago,” Pace said. “We don’t have a foreclosure market this year. They are no longer dictating values.”
    Pace said the assessments are based on data gathered from 430 real estate sales in 2012.
    “We are required by law to base assessments on market values,” she said.
    Two-thirds of the sales figures were supplied by the Sun Valley Board of Realtors, following an agreement the board made with the county in 2008. Details from that list of sales data are confidential, Pace said.
    Pace said the county also sends requests for sales data to all new homebuyers. About one-third of the sales data used in assessments comes voluntarily from those buyers.
    Pace said the homeowner’s exemption will drop from $83,974 in 2012 to $81,000 this year, meaning those with an exemption will pay slightly higher taxes.
    Property owners have until the end of the workday of June 24 to appeal their county assessments. Assessments are rarely overturned on appeal.

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