LOGAN – Two national publications recently detailed how quickly homes are selling throughout Utah. Nationally, available inventory is at unprecedented low levels which is causing home prices to increase while also being available on the market for fewer days.
According to Roofstock.com, part of the demand is being driven by more and more people who live in expensive, large metropolitan areas realizing they can work and study from home. Families are seeking homes with more space and amenities. While low interest rates are enticing prospective buyers, they are also encouraging existing homeowners to refinance and stay put, which can also limit available inventory.
Sid Roderer is a real estate agent with Achievement Realty in Logan and says Cache Valley’s real estate market is extremely competitive right now with a very limited number of available homes.
“It is an absolute seller’s market,” she exclaims. “For two or three months we’ve had inventory below 50 (available homes), for sure. That’s been dramatic. Today, I was looking at all residential real estate available in Cache Valley, and there were 33 residential listings in all of Cache Valley. We have, I think the current number is, somewhere around 590 real estate agents in the area? I’ll let you do the math.”
“Among small and midsize metros where homes are moving off the market quickly, many are just outside of larger metros with high demand, like Logan, UT near Salt Lake City or Vallejo, CA near San Francisco,” Roofstock.com’s report states. “This may be an indication that more workers are choosing rural and suburban locales where they can commute or work remotely while enjoying a lower cost of living.”
The Logan metro ranked 6th among Small Metros, and Idaho Falls, Idaho is #1. The median days on the market for homes in the Logan area is 41, while in Idaho Falls it is only 35. Homes sell quickly in other areas of the state, too. In Ogden-Clearfield, it’s 36 days; in Salt Lake City, 37; in Provo-Orem, 45; and, in St. George, 48.
Year-over-year, homes in Logan are selling 13.1% faster and the list price is up 6.5%. The median list price for homes in Logan is $342,554. Among all metropolitan areas (small, midsize and large) throughout the United States, homes in the Idaho Falls area are on the market for the fewest days, and those days have dropped 18.4% year over year. Meanwhile, the change in list price is up 16.9%.
According to local real estate data, the median price per square foot for homes sold in March 2019 was $117.82. Right before the pandemic hit in 2020, that price had risen to $122.12. Today, the price currently sits at $159.26. Roderer says many of her clients interested in Cache Valley real estate are from out of state. They are bringing their jobs with them because they can work remotely, are interested in more space, and are seeking a different quality of life.
“I see an increase influx from out-of-state buyers, currently, who oftentimes have either the whole purchase price in cash or a very large chunk of it in cash, driving up the price,” she adds. “And you can’t find land, either, to build on.”
She says current Cache Valley residents who are looking to upgrade are finding it harder and harder to locate, and afford, the housing they’re interested in.
A Bankrate.com report also noted that Utah’s new arrivals can often be flush with cash and bid up home prices, creating a problem with housing affordability.
“There is no way for everybody to get into their home right now,” Roderer states. “There is an immense push on the rental market. We have been seeing the rents go up. That is not my expertise, but I know from the property management agents that I work with that rents are going up, which is a natural cause of supply and demand.”
The Bankrate report examined what they refer to as a Housing Heat Index for the fourth quarter of 2020, and they found that Utah’s housing market is the hottest in the country.
“Utah home prices have been soaring as Californians stream into the state,” their report states. “Utah boasts the nation’s strongest pace of job growth, along with rock-bottom unemployment, ultra-low mortgage rates, few mortgage delinquencies and low state and local taxes.”
Multiple factors contributed to Utah being listed as the #1 state with the strongest housing economy to close out 2020.
“Its home values jumped 15.4 percent in the 12-month period that ended Dec. 31, third-best among U.S. states, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency,” the Bankrate report stated. “Utah posted the second-strongest job growth in the nation from December 2019 to December 2020, according to a Bankrate analysis of Labor Department data. And its tax burden is among the lowest in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation.”
Idaho was ranked 4th, noting strong job growth and rapidly increasing home prices.