Wasatch Front homes prices soar as ‘for sale’ signs remain scarce

Trent Nelson | Salt Lake Tribune file photo The median sales prices of a home on Salt Lake City’s east side, below the University of Utah and north of 900 South, rose 31 percent in the past year to $440,500.

Veteran real estate agent Liz Slager wasn’t a bit surprised to hear that the median sale price of a home in and around Emigration Canyon skyrocketed to $600,000 in the first quarter of 2018 — nearly $100,000 more than just a year earlier.

“For properties up to $1 million, there’s a lot of people chasing those deals,” said Slager, who has specialized in the sale of high-end homes for nearly two decades.

Demand and a limited inventory of available homes are driving up prices in the ZIP codes where she spends much of her time, including 84108, which covers Emigration Canyon and the St. Mary’s neighborhood at the canyon mouth.

The 19 percent, year-over-year gain there made 84108 the first Salt Lake County ZIP code to reach $600,000 in median home value, according to quarterly sales statistics released Thursday by the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

The median price of Salt Lake County homes sold in the first quarter was $340,000, up 13.3 percent over a year earlier ($300,000). Utah County had virtually the same percentage increase, to $325,000, while sale prices rose 12.2 percent in Weber County (to $230,000) and 10.2 percent in Davis County (to $297,000).

The real estate boom is even more evident in Tooele County, which had 307 homes sold January through March, a 41 percent year-over-year increase. And the median sale price of those homes jumped 16 percent since 2017’s first quarter, to $255,000.

“Higher home prices are becoming a hurdle for many first-time home buyers,” said Salt Lake Board of Realtors President Adam Kirkham. “Demand for homes continues to outpace supply. The shortfall in housing units is likely to continue for several more years.”

After the number of Salt Lake County sales dropped in the fourth quarter of 2017 because so few homes were listed, enough single-family dwellings were on the market in the first quarter to boost sales by 5 percent over the same period a year earlier.

Most home salesZIP code 84074 (Tooele) • 254.84015 (Clearfield) • 246.84404 (Farr West) • 220.84096 (Herriman) • 192. 84043 (Lehi) • 186. Source: Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Slager said the mild winter made it easier to look for homes than in past years, accounting for some of the increase. But much of Emigration Canyon’s appeal stems from its proximity and similarity to Park City — “It’s like a back road to get to the ski resorts; you’re out of the inversion, and there are large lots,” she said — while the St. Mary’s neighborhood has many larger homes that have been renovated lately.

Her sphere of influence also takes in ZIP code 84103, which includes posh Avenues and Federal Heights neighborhoods. It was the second most expensive ZIP code along the Wasatch Front. The median sales price of a home there rose 20.4 percent from the first quarter of 2017 (when it was $461,000) to $555,000 this year.

Biggest price increases by percentageZIP code 84058 (Orem) • Up 35.8 percent, to $360,000.84102 (Salt Lake City) • Up 31.3 percent, to $440,000.84029 (Grantsville) • Up 26.8 percent, to $271,250.84014 (Centerville) • Up 26.3 percent, to $360,000.84010 (Bountiful) • Up 23.4 percent, to $359,000. Source: Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

With so few homes on the market, competition for listed properties could be intense. “Some people get pretty discouraged,” Slager said, noting that would-be buyers see deals they can afford, “and they’re going after them, but then they find they’re only one of five or six offers out there. Or they end up buying just to buy because the inventory gets swooped up so fast.”

Along the Wasatch Front, listed homes remained on the market for an average of 24 days in the first quarter of 2018, down from 27 days a year prior.

Median price of Wasatch Front condominium salesSalt Lake County • $240,000, up 11.3 percent.Davis County • $218,000, up 10.4 percent.Utah County • $213,800, up 20.2 percent.Tooele County • $179,200, up 23.6 percent.Weber County • $166,000, up 15.3 percent. Source: Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

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