Cache Valley impacted by Utah’s housing shortage

With Utah’s housing market booming, finding a place to live can be tricky. Amy Rupp, an agent with Youngblood Real Estate in Logan, said it’s definitely a seller’s market.

“Even in the last six months,” she said, “we are very low as far as inventory goes for houses. It’s probably the lowest it’s been in over 15 years.”

Approaching summer 2016, Rupp said there were approximately 340 houses on the market in Cache Valley. Today, Broker Jette Youngblood said there are 202. 

In her 12 years in the industry, Rupp hasn’t seen anything like it. With multiple buyers for every home, people are getting “top dollar for their houses,” she said.

“What we’ve kind of experienced is that a lot of people have been concerned because we’re in a balloon right now. Will there be a housing crash?”

Rupp doesn’t think so. With the mortgage, lending and financial industries being so solid, Rupp said there’s nothing to be concerned about.

“Cache Valley’s just appreciating and the market’s appreciating,” she explained. “There’s a lot of growth here in Utah and especially in Cache Valley, and that’s kind of what the market’s doing.”

Rupp suggests that buyers who are discouraged with the market consider working closely with a real estate agent. She said agents often become aware of houses that will soon be available before they’re listed, and being in the know can benefit house hunters. Rupp also said new construction might be a good option for buyers who are discouraged by the lack of existing homes. Sometimes, she noted, people just have to wait it out.

According to a 2016 study conducted by Jim Wood, Ivory-Boyer senior fellow at the Kem C. Gardner Institute at the University of Utah, the five-year period between 2010 and 2015 is the first time since the 1970s that Utah had a negative housing inventory. During that period, Wood’s research indicated an increase of 109,321 households, with the addition of only 81,656 housing units. This signifies a difference of negative 34.3 percent.

The housing crunch Wood describes is also reflected in the rental market. Brandon McGary, office manager of Real Property Management in Providence, said he’s definitely seen an uptick in rental traffic as demand for housing in Cache Valley grows. Noting seasonal ebbs and flows in the market, McGary said inventory is always in flux. However, the current <a href=”;SECTION=HOME&amp;TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&amp;CTIME=2017-04-10-03-01-34″ target=”_blank”>housing shortage</a> is being reflected across the board.

“We have tenants who are more cautious about moving and might hold on to a place longer than they’d planned because they are concerned about being able to find something else,” he said. “There’s definitely fantastic growth in the valley in general, and we’re certainly seeing it here.”

Norma Aldrich, a property manager in McGary’s office, said another factor creating higher demand is that many USU students, who in the past may have moved away for the summer, are getting summer jobs and staying in the valley. McGary advises individuals and families who are looking for rental properties to develop a relationship with a property management company. Like Rupp, he said industry professionals are often privy to information about inventory that hasn’t yet been publicly shared.

“It can change day to day,” he said, “and as soon as something new comes on, there’s an immediate response wherever we may be advertising.”

Whatever the condition of the market, McGary said he and Aldrich work hard to help anyone who’s looking for a place to call home discover the options available.

“Sometimes,” he said, “whether you’re look to rent or buy, the best thing to do is just drive around. You never know when someone’s going to put out a sign.”

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NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect a clarification in the number of homes currently on the market in Cache Valley.

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