Photo by Marcy Stamper As usual, the Methow Valley accounted for the majority of new construction in the county. Some building activity replaced structures burned by wildfire.

Photo by Marcy Stamper
As usual, the Methow Valley accounted for the majority of new construction in the county. Some building activity replaced structures burned by wildfire.

By Marcy Stamper

The value of new construction in Okanogan County in the past year is fairly consistent with value picked up annually since 2011, with the only spike recorded in 2015.

New construction in Okanogan County in 2016 was valued at $40.7 million, a 20-percent drop from the $50.6 million added last year.

“The spike in total new construction for 2015 can most likely be attributed to rebuilding efforts after the Carlton Complex Fire in 2014, where nearly 300 homes were lost,” said Okanogan County Assessor Scott Furman about the annual valuation.

The past year was right in line with values from 2011 through 2014, which ranged from $41.3 million to $45 million, according to the assessor’s figures.

Another consistent trend was for the highest value in building — brand-new construction or additions — to be recorded in the Methow Valley School District, which racked up $18.5 million, or 45 percent of the county total. The Pateros School District was next with $5.9 million, or 14 percent of the total.

The Tonasket School District had $4.2 million, or 10 percent. The Okanogan and Omak school districts both contributed about 8 percent of the total, with $3.4 million in Okanogan and $3.3 million in Omak.

The Brewster and Oroville school districts both accounted for about 6 percent, with $2.6 million in Brewster and $2.5 million in Oroville.

The proportion of construction for residential projects also dropped this year, accounting for 90 percent of the total, with the other 10 percent attributed to commercial building. Last year 95 percent of the value was created by residential projects, said Furman.

The total value in 2016 was less than half of the peak value of new building in Okanogan County, which was recorded in 2007 with a hefty $88.6 million.

The smallest value in the past decade occurred in 2010, when new construction was valued at just $37.4 million. The low point in the past quarter-century was 1995, with just $15.7 million recorded.

The Okanogan County assessor’s office physically inspects all new building every year — everything from new houses to garages to additions — and adds the value to the tax rolls.

The appraisers use a nationally standardized list of values for architecture, building size, materials, and number and type of windows. They calculate only the replacement cost of the structure and do not include intangibles such as location, water access or view, said Furman.

All property owners who have had new construction valued by the county will receive a notice from the assessor in the near future. Adding the value of these structures to the county’s tax rolls helps lessen the property-tax burden for other taxpayers, since the total amount of tax is split up among all property owners based on the value of their property and improvements. The changes will be reflected in property taxes paid in 2017.

For more information, call the assessor’s office at (509) 422-7190.