Prices up, but Wasatch Front home sales decline in 3rd quarter

Prices up, but Wasatch Front home sales decline in 3rd quarter

(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

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SANDY — The prices paid for homes along the Wasatch Front are rising, but fewer people were able to buy during late summer, according to 2016 third quarter figures released Monday.

The median price of a single-family home sold rose to $301,000, according to data from the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. The higher prices and limited housing inventory negatively impacted sales, pushing sales volume down 5 percent.

The number of single-family homes sold in the three-month period of July, August and September fell from 3,881 units in 2015 to 3,694 units this year. The median single-family home price in Salt Lake County climbed almost 7.5 percent over last year, the report states.

“Limited housing inventory and high demand continues to push home prices higher,” said Cheryl Acker, president of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. “More housing inventory is needed to help balance current demands.”

The median price for homes sold in Weber County climbed to $207,000 — up nearly 12 percent from the same period in 2015. In Tooele County, the median sales price rose almost 11 percent to $210,000. Prices in Utah County increased 9.3 percent to $289,000 for single-family homes sold, while Davis County rose to $265,000 — a 6.2 percent jump from the same quarter last year.

Meanwhile, condominium sales in Salt Lake County increased nearly 7 percent in the third quarter with 1,151 units sold during the period, with the median price of Salt Lake condos rising 6.1 percent to $200,000. Upward trends followed in Weber and Tooele counties as well, with sales increasing 10 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

In addition, median sales prices for condos also rose 10 percent in Weber County to $135,000, with prices in Tooele County increasing 3 percent to just under $140,000 during the three-month period.

Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

However, Davis and Utah counties saw declines in condominium sales for the period — down 1 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Sales prices for condos in Utah County rose 8.2 percent to nearly $180,000, with sales prices rising 6.2 percent in Davis County to about $185,000.

One local analyst said that despite the decline in single-family home sales, the market is still relatively strong.

“Demand is pushing up prices,” said Jim Wood, economist and senior fellow at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. “The dip in sales is more about the number, quality and price of listings. Sales were up in Utah, Davis and Weber. Days on market are less than 20 days, so (there is) very strong demand, particularly for homes under $400,000.”

Wood said employment and demographic growth is expected to support strong sales in the coming year, meaning the “sellers market” would likely continue through 2017.

For prospective buyers, finding a suitable property in a desirable area is a bit more challenging than in years past. South Jordan resident Eileen Squires is helping her daughter search for a home in Utah as the family prepares to move to the Salt Lake Valley from Idaho for her son-in-law’s new job.

Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

On Monday, Squires toured a house in Cottonwood Heights that she felt was an ideal property for her daughter’s family.

“She wants to be in a neighborhood, away from busy streets, but yet close enough to roads that you can get to work quickly,” Squires said. “I expected (prices) to be high up here, and they are.”

The number of new listings of properties on the market in Salt Lake County increased 1 percent, said Dave Anderton, communications director for the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. He said that based on sales trends of single-family homes over the past year in Salt Lake County, there is currently less than a four-month supply of housing inventory.

The supply is the measure of how many months it would take for the present inventory of homes on the market to sell, given the current pace of home sales, he explained. A normal housing market is typically characterized by a five-month to six-month supply of housing inventory, he added.

Levels of supply below five months represent a seller’s market, Anderton said, while homebuyers gain the advantage when levels rise above six months.


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