Home sales along the Wasatch Front bounced back slightly in early spring, even as housing prices across the five-county area continued to climb.
Nearly 8,526 homes changed hands during April, May and June, nearly 2.2% more than the 8,340 that sold during the same busy homebuying months the previous year, according to data released Monday by the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.
The report comes as U.S. home sales showed signs of picking up nationally amid wage increases and falling mortgage rates.
The latest numbers also reflect a slight turnaround in Utah from the first three months of 2019, when the total number of homes sold across the region fell by 9.6%, leading market observers to suggest some would-be buyers were pulling back.
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Salt Lake Board of Realtors President Scott Robbins said that the fundamentals of Wasatch Front housing markets remain strong, especially in light of the state’s continued job growth.
Well-heeled buyers relocating from California and elsewhere are finding plenty of homes in their price ranges, Robbins said. And while area home prices are rising, he said, “when you compare us to other surrounding cities, we’re still affordable.”
First-time homebuyers, in contrast, are often getting priced out. “That’s where the struggle is,” said Robbins, a real estate broker with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty.
Overall gains in home sales for the Wasatch Front masked mixed reports for individual Wasatch Front counties, as real estate executives, business leaders and elected officials continue to point to a lack of more affordable housing in Utah’s populated areas.
Davis and Salt Lake counties saw slight sales declines in the second quarter of 2019, down 0.3% and 0.9%, respectively, while Weber County sales fell further, with a quarterly decline of 1.5% year over year.
Sales elsewhere were up, by 7.4% in Utah County and an impressive 28.6% in Tooele County.
Home prices rose by 7.7% in Salt Lake County year over year, pushing the median price to $380,000 — nearly $27,000 higher than it was in spring 2018.
Davis, Utah and Tooele counties all posted similar home price gains, at 8.2%, 7.5% and 6.2%, respectively, while Weber County's median home price grew by 14.6%.
That left Tooele County with the region's lowest median home price for the quarter, at $277,500, up more the $35,000 from the same time a year before.
Utah County hovered at a median home price of $360,000, up $25,000 year over year, and Davis County was at $342,000, up $26,000.
And there were signs of slowing sales in other numbers released Monday.
The number of days that homes were on the market rose in all five counties for the second quarter. Homes waited 36 days between listing and sale in Salt Lake County, up 20%, while that period grew to 43 days in Tooele County and 53 days in Utah County, increases of 65.4% and 55.9%, respectively.