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Is it a buyer's or seller's market? Experts say it's both

By Paul Nelson | Posted - May 3rd, 2013 @ 8:51am



SALT LAKE CITY — Housing market analysts say the Utah market is going through a strange period right now. For the time being, they say it's good for both buyers and sellers.

From a buyer's perspective, things are good.

"Buyers have great interest rates right now and they have a lot of reason to buy, but there just aren't enough homes on the market," said Tara Bueche with Urban Utah Homes and Estates. "So, sellers have the upper hand, in some ways."

Bueche said many people putting their homes on the market are still underwater in their loans. Those people are particularly motivated to sell.

"To them, when they're selling, they're really hoping they can get rid of it and make a profit, or break even," Bueche said.

At the same time, there aren't nearly enough homes to keep up with demand. Many people who are underwater are trying to hold on to their homes and don't want to sell. Plus, when the market took a downturn, a lot of home builders stopped building. But, Bueche said builders are scrambling to make up for lost time.

"They're jumping on absolutely anything," she said. "I've seen lots with houses on them that probably could be fixed up, but they're just going to knock them down and build right back up. Property space is really worth a lot right now to build on."

For now, since demand is so high and supplies are so low, buyers are doing what they can to get the home they want. Bidding wars are on the rise, according to Bueche, and some prospective homeowners are agreeing to terms that they maybe wouldn't have years ago.

"More often, you're hearing that sellers don't want to have to repair things," she said. "Or, they're saying that they're only going to give a certain amount of closing costs or none at all."

This may shift the market into a seller's market in the short term. But, Bueches said it could become a buyer's market again when home prices rise too high.

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