July 2, 2012

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Utah’s Housing Market Continues to Strengthen

Sarah Cutler

July 2, 2012

Homes in Utah proved to be a hot item during the month of May, with increased prices thanks to a smaller range of options. May was the second consecutive month that Utah home prices rose, according to a report released by the Utah Association of Realtors.

“The higher sales and renewed interested from buyers has dramatically decreased inventory,” said Lori Chapman, UAR president. “The best homes are going quickly so buyers have to be ready to move if they see a property they like.”

Inventory fell 23.2 percent from last year. At the end of May, the 20,472 units available for sale represented a supply of 6.9 months. “Balanced markets generally have six to seven months of inventory,” Chapman said. “The markets with the lowest supplies also tend to have the highest price increases.”

The balanced market creates more opportunities for Realtors and buyers, according to Chapman, particularly as home sales are priced currently. “When prices get so low, it penalizes a lot of people and it’s not sustainable because people get nervous,” She said “Balance is good for buyers and for sellers. Buyers aren’t as nervous to buy and sellers aren’t as nervous to sell.”

Home sales rose 11.8 percent from May 2011, with a statewide median price of $180,500, up 2.6 percent from $176,000 a year ago. Utah Realtors sold 3,385 homes, townhomes and condominiums during May 2012 compared to 3,028 sales last year.

“Some homeowners who once gave up on selling are reconsidering putting their homes up for sale as they realize they have more equity and can sell their properties faster,” Chapman said. “It’s a really good time for someone to get in the market. There are still some really great buys out there.”

This places Utah in a good position economically as well. “Whenever a home is sold it creates about seven new jobs because of the trickle-down effect,” Chapman said. She noted that those jobs often come in the form of homebuyers then going out and purchasing new furniture, getting new carpets, landscaping and sending children to schools in the community.

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