RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

After a multiyear decline, property values crept up in Riverside County this year, signaling possible renewed strength in the regional economy, according to a report released today.

For the first time since fiscal year 2008-09, the county's property tax assessment roll -- the composite value of all commercial and residential real estate within the county -- went positive, increasing by 3.95 percent, according to the Assessor-Clerk-Recorder's Office.

Assessor Larry Ward said the 2013-14 roll, valued as of Jan. 1, totaled $205.3 billion, compared to $197 billion in 2012-13.

``Studies show that rising values increase consumer confidence, which can lead to greater consumer spending that will help spur economic recovery,'' Assistant Assessor Michele Martinez-Barrera said. ``The increase also may mean more home sales, because rising prices can entice homeowners to sell their homes to purchase `move-up homes.'''

Martinez-Barrera said greater valuations are largely attributable to a surge in sales of higher-end properties and a steep drop-off in foreclosure activity countywide. The majority of properties remain well below their peak values, reached during the height of the real estate bubble five or more years ago. As a result, the county is not anticipating a windfall in property tax receipts.