Friday, December 30, 2011

Utah home sales continue upward trend | Deseret News

SANDY — Utah home sales climbed for the sixth consecutive month in November, rising more than 10 percent compared to last year, according to a report from the Utah Association of Realtors.

For the year, sales were up eight percent compared to the same period in 2010. Since the beginning of the year, more than 30,000 homes have been sold.

“The combination of low interest rates, high affordability and improved employment conditions has brought out many would-be buyers,” said Lori Chapman, 2012 president of the Utah Association of Realtors.

Realtor Lisa Blakemore places informational fliers at a recently listed home in the Avenues.

Tom Smart, Deseret News
Realtor Lisa Blakemore places informational fliers at a recently listed home in the Avenues.

The upward trend in home sales is expected to continue into the new year, the report stated. The number of contracts signed to buy homes rose 31 percent in November compared to the same month last year, while pending sales increased for the seventh straight month.

“Pending sales measure future activity since it typically takes a month or two after the contract is signed for the home to close and officially sell,” Chapman explained.

In November, the number of homes for sale fell more than 23 percent compared to last year. Inventory levels have been falling for a year, with November marking the fewest number of homes on the market since April 2007. In addition, the number of new listings was down about 12 percent.

“Our most recent indicators are pointing to both increases in demand and decreases in supply, a combination that bodes well for housing in our state,” Chapman said. “Our inventory absorption rate is also heading closer to a more balanced range, which is typically six or seven months. As this number heads into that territory, it is more likely that prices will rise.”

The median sales price of Utah homes sold was $170,000 in November, down about 9 percent from last year. For the year, prices fell about 8 percent.

The report stated that the low prices combined with record-low interest rates brought affordability to near record levels. The UAR’s Affordability Index stood at 167 in November, meaning a typical Utah family makes 167 percent of what is needed to buy the median-priced home under prevailing interest rates.

The record was set in September when the index registered 168.