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Utah’s Competitive Housing Market

Housing markets on the Wasatch Front hit a key friction point earlier this year as the state wide housing inventory shortage causes the number of existing homes sold to drop, but home prices, however, continue to skyrocket! The number of homes sold January through May of this year fell across the state — even though there’s historic demand driven by low interest rates, Utah’s thriving economy and a pandemic-induced search for new living spaces. Across the state, 5,611 single-family homes sold in the first three months of 2021, 451 fewer than those same months in 2020. Average sales prices, however, increased between 17-23% or higher, varying by location.

The housing market was tight before the pandemic but demand has gone up even higher, as many people are seeking more space. In addition, with the option widening for many to work from home, people are becoming more flexible with where they can live. However, many potential sellers are choosing to keep their houses off the market, cutting available inventories out of fear that they might not be able to secure or afford a new home after they sell.

Limited inventory has pushed buyers out to once-rural communities in southern Utah County and Tooele County. Experts estimate the Wasatch Front now has enough available homes to met roughly two weeks of current demand, down from three to four months’ supply a few years ago.

Other key data points:

  • Active listings for homes have dropped by between 11% and 32% across the region in just a year.
  • The average Wasatch Front home listing now stays on the market between four and five days before going under contract, down from 28 days a year ago.
  • Realtors say that getting 30 offers on a home is all but standard these days, usually well above the price listed. Several reported desperate buyers offering up to $100,000 above asking price in their initial bids.
  • Cash buyers make up the largest share of home total purchases since 2010, according to new research, accounting for as many as 18.5% of all transactions, according to new research, up from 12% a year ago.
  • The dearth of single-family homes appears to be pushing higher demand onto condominiums and town houses, which saw both notable sales gains and price increases at the start of 2021.

First-time home buyers are struggling as Utah lacks at least 50,000 moderately priced homes and rentals across the state after years of rising building cost and lack of land supplies. In Salt Lake County, single-family sales fell 1.4% last quarter even as the state’s economy continued to add employment in key industries. According to the Sale Lake Board of Realtors, the median sales price in the county leapt 17% compared to the same time last year, to $468,000. For comparison, that median price was at $378,000 at the close of 2019. Prices increased in all but one of Salt Lake County’s ZIP codes, too, for an average increase of 23% year. That same pattern occurred in surrounding counties, with a decline in sales of 3.7% in Tooele County and 6.9% in Utah County and bigger drops of 16.4% and 18.4% in Davis and Weber counties. All counties attended by big price increases. Median sales prices as of the end of March were at up 20% to $450,000 in Utah County. In Weber County, the gain was 23.2% to a price of $340,000. Davis County’s median price rose 21% to $430,000. And in Tooele County the median was at $360,000, up 17.8%. Prices were typically lower by region for condos and town houses, though they are also surging compared to prior years. In Salt Lake County, the median price on those homes was $335,000 last quarter, while it had risen to $307,000 in Davis County, $291,812 in Utah County, $281,647 in Tooele County and $271,000 in Weber County.

Every city and neighborhood is different, reach out to talk to one of our local real estate experts for more details regarding a specific location!

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