Reading BETWEEN the Headlines


WasatchThe tables have turned-It’s now a seller’s market”!   Those were happy words on the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune last week, right?  That is not a headline we’ve seen in these parts in FIVE FREAKIN’ YEARS!  Let me take the next few paragraphs here and share with you my slant on the statistics that were just released by the Front Multiple Listing Service (WFRMLS).  FYI: The WFRMLS is a private company owned by the three largest private real estate associations/Boards of Realtors in the state: The Davis County Board of Realtors, the Utah County Board of Realtors and Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

            1) Everyone wants Tooele County. Prices there went up 6.5% in the past year, from $139,900 to $149,000 on average. That is still a screaming deal for folks looking for a more small town living experience and a 30 minute commute to Salt Lake City;

            2) Salt Lake County saw a 5.9% increase, with the highest sales prices in the past year jumping up in the Holladay area-with a change from $280,000 a year ago to $370,000 this past quarter. That’s no surprise to me because that’s an area of very high priced homes.  Surprisingly, Sandy went down by 1.9% in the past year to an average of sales prices of $180,000, Herriman down 5.4% to $244,000 and the 84106 zip code down 1.9% to $211,900.  There were no stats reported for my neighborhood downtown (84101) but that may be related to the fact that the LDS Church hasn’t been reporting most of their sales in the City Creek condo projects or that the Broadway Park auctioned condos by Pioneer Park are only starting to close this month (after a 6+ month wait in escrow).

            3) Davis County is up 3.4% in prices to an average of $196,500, with the highest prices now found in Layton and then Woods Cross. 

            4) Utah County (Provo area) just squeaked by Weber County in popularity: Utah County prices went up from $191,900 to $195,000 where as Weber County went up only 1.3% to an average sales price of $145,000.

            There are still grim statistics out there: Eden properties went down -18.7% in the last year, followed by South Odgen at a drop of -16.6%.  I generalize, but use the rule of thumb “We dropped on average of 30% since the crash 4 years ago. We’ve adjusted back to prices of 2003 now.”

            How can you NOT buy a home when interest rates are at 3.5%?  Rent IS HIGHER, period.  Sure, you have some credit issues.  Fix them!  A good lender will hold your hand and HELP you fix your credit-for free. You don’t have money down? There are totally legit zero down loans out there which a good lender can tell you about.  The apocalypse is soon and zombies will only destroy your house to get to your yummy brains?  Buy a damned high rise condo and pick them off from your balcony!

            One other really obvious fact I want to mention in response to the ‘seller’s market’ headlines:  If you’re a seller you’re only going to sell IF your property is priced correctly.  Otherwise, if you’re priced wrong, you’re going to sit, and sit, and sit on the market and be fodder for the bottom feeders.