Utah’s home buying frenzy calming down, prices remain high

Sep 28, 2021, 9:11 PM | Updated: 10:47 pm

SANDY, Utah – The Beehive State’s housing market is catching its breath, according to the Utah Association of Realtors, but prices remain high and inventory low.

“The big story from the August report is we’ve got sales that have slowed a bit from earlier this year,” said Deanna Devey, the association’s director of communications and operations. “But we’re still seeing a huge increase in prices.”

The new report showed the median sales price for a home in Utah jumped 26% from one year ago to $455,000.

In August of 2020, the median sales price was $360,000.

Homes for sale in Utah spent an average of 18 days on the market before going under contract. That’s a decrease of nearly 54% from one year ago, when homes were on the market for an average of 39 days, according to the August report.

“While, yes, it’s such good news that we’re not seeing the crazy frenzy that we saw before, it’s still a very competitive market,” Devey said.

 “The biggest difference you find is that, instead of getting 30 offers on a home, it might take you a couple weeks, instead of one weekend, to get an offer,” said Dave Robison, the owner of goBE Realty. “You might still end up with a couple offers.”

Robison, who was the 2020 president of the Utah Association of Realtors, said the big problem facing the state’s housing market is the lack of inventory.

“We have about 5,700 homes for sale,” Robison explained. “For it to be normal — for the market to not be boiling — we need 20,000 homes. We need a great deal amount of new inventory on the market for it not to be boiling.”

The August Monthly Indicators report said home builders are struggling to keep up with demand.

“Labor shortages, rising material costs, and supply-chain setbacks continue to challenge builders, with some projects temporarily paused due to availability and cost of materials,” the report said.

Both Devey and Robison expect that builders in Utah will be listing more new homes for sale as we approach the end of the year.

“Between now and December, we’re actually going to see the builders put a lot of inventory on the market,” Robison said. “That’s a good thing. It’s something to look forward to.”

The reason, Robison said, is that many builders switched to spec homes earlier this year because of the rapidly rising prices, and now, those homes are nearing completion.

“I think that we’ll see more inventory coming on to the market and that’s great news for buyers,” Devey said. “We’ve had some awesome homebuilding that’s happened this year.”

In August, Utah had a 1.2-month supply of housing inventory. A six-month supply is considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers, the association said.

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