June 1, 2012

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Salt Lake Home Sales, Prices Up in April

Di Lewis

June 1, 2012

Home sales in Salt Lake County have been increasing for 11 months, while April saw a 4 percent median price increase, according to a report released Thursday by the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

The median price increased to $193,000 this month. The county also saw a 17 percent increase in sales of previously owned homes and condos over April last year. The month’s sales accounted for 37 percent of home sales statewide with 1,107 sold, said Dave Anderton, communications director for the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Anderton said the housing market is showing a lot of promise, since 2011 sales were 942 and 2010 sales were 1,171. Sales were slightly higher two years ago because of the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit, he said.

While Salt Lake County is higher than statewide increases, Utah did see a 10 percent increase in sales overall.

Inventory is also back to a normal level, with a five-month supply of housing in April, compared to a nine-month supply last April. Anderton said a five- to six-month supply is considered normal.

“The number of homes listed for sale in Salt Lake County is at a 15-year record low,” said Donna Pozzuoli, president of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors, in the press release. “If you are a home buyer waiting for the bottom of the market you have already missed it.”

Anderton said they are beginning to see multiple offers on homes again, largely in the $150,000 to $250,000 range.

“You see people coming in at asking price now and not trying to lowball the seller,” Anderton said. While the market is still great in terms of affordability, the buyer’s market of the last five years is winding down, he said.

The number of short sales and foreclosures is still higher than historic averages. Anderton said the rates are falling and sales on both are moving faster. About one in three listings is a short sale, and the foreclosure rate is 2.4 percent.

“They’re harder to find, moving faster and priced right,” he said.

The Salt Lake Board of Realtors is seeing a comeback in membership as well. From a high of more than 9,000 members to a low of 5,000, Anderton said membership took a big hit with the decline of the housing market. In some months during the last year, they only had four or five new members a month, where for the last couple months he said they’ve seen about 50 new members each month.

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