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Home prices along the Wasatch Front continued to climb during the second quarter of 2013, marking 15 consecutive months of rising home prices in northern Utah.
The median single-family home price from April 2013 to June 2013 in Salt Lake County increased to $249,700. This price is up 17.2 percent compared to a median price of $213,000 in the second quarter of 2012. Since April 2012, home prices in the Salt Lake area have increased every month year-over-year, according to the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.
In other areas of the state, like Davis County, the median home price went up by 7.6 percent. Both Utah and Weber counties experienced double-digit gains at 12.6 percent and 13.8 percent respectively. In Tooele County, home prices climbed 14 percent, according to the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.
Not only are home prices rising across the Wasatch Front, but the number of new homes being built is also rising.
“The place we’ve seen the most significant growth in is construction loan activity,” said Kim Casaday, senior vice president of residential lending at Zions Bank. “Compared to last year, those [construction] applications are up 40 percent.”
Casaday said one reason for this is because there are not a lot of homes currently on the market due to previous low prices and interest rates.
“There are not a lot of homes available to be bought, so it’s pushing the activity over into people who are now building homes,” she said.
One challenge due to consistently rising home prices is the pressure put on first-time home buyers. Because prices are rising, their ability to purchase or construct a new home is compromised.
“First-time home buyers are significant players in the market, so we want them to be able to buy homes,” she said.
Although the concern for first-time home buyers being able to afford homes is rising, that has not affected the overall sales of single-family homes along the Wasatch Front.
The number of single-family homes sold by a realtor from the Salt Lake Board of Realtors in Salt Lake County in the second quarter climbed to 3,430, which was up 12.2 percent compared to 3,058 single-family homes sold in the second quarter of 2012.
Casaday said this shows that all home buyers, first time or not, still have several options when it comes to purchasing a home, regardless of the rising prices.
“It’s a dynamic market,” Casaday said. “We have to make people aware of options because there is still an opportunity to buy that dream home. There are a lot of lending options out there. There are still several opportunities to buy a home even though prices are rising.”