Home prices in Salt Lake County reach an all-time high

(AP file photo) Single-family home sales in Salt Lake County remained essentially flat for the third quarter of 2019, as median prices climbed to all-time highs.

Single-family homes in Salt Lake County reached an all-time record median price, above $381,500 during the three months ending in September, new data indicates.

As housing markets along the Wasatch Front continue a multiyear upward climb, the median sales price in Utah’s most populous county stood fully $26,500 above where it was a year before, for a 7.5% gain over the same quarter in 2018, according to data from the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

More dramatically, that price tag is now at least $80,500 above its level of just three years before, when the median single-family home reached $301,000, an all-time high at the time.

Persistently rising home prices are having a big impact across the Wasatch Front, driving public policy debates about affordable housing, spurring a historic spate of investments in new apartment buildings and boosting the chances that younger people will more likely rent than buy.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

The picture is further complicated, real estate agents and analysts say, by a steady stream of out-of-state residents moving in for jobs and looking to buy.

Board of Realtors President Scott Robbins said Monday that the five-county region’s housing markets continue to face pressure due to a relatively low number of homes available for sale even as demand remains high.

“Even though prices have increased," said Robbins, an agent with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, "we’re still pretty darn affordable compared to San Francisco, Seattle or Portland.”

Longtime Utahns, meanwhile, might be interested in selling their homes, Robbins said, but “they can’t find something to move to right now.”

Homebuilders along the Wasatch Front report that limited stocks of available land and rising costs of building materials and labor are all pushing up the price of new housing construction, constraining overall market supplies for both new and existing homes.

Rising prices appeared to dampen Salt Lake County’s quarterly home sales, with 3,561 existing homes changing hand between July and September — for a scant 0.68% gain over the year before, representing an increase of just 24 homes year over year.

Robbins noted that 82% of the third-quarter sales in the county were of homes priced below $500,000. He suggested that many would-be homebuyers had resorted to searching in adjoining counties in hopes of finding bargains.

And those counties, where price gains were indeed more moderate, also fared better on sales volumes, the board report said, with sales up 12.1% in Weber County; 11.8% in Utah County; 9.8% in Davis County; and 4.7% in Tooele County.

For raw number of homes sold between July and September, the cities of Herriman, West Jordan, Draper and Taylorsville-Kearns led the way for Salt Lake County.

Clearfield, Layton, Syracuse and Bountiful were the big-selling cities last quarter for Davis County, based on existing homes changing hands. In Utah County, Lehi, Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs led on sales. Farr West and Roy saw the most home sold in Weber County, while in Tooele County top-selling cities were Tooele and Grantsville.

Price gains, of course, were not limited to Salt Lake County. Utah County’s median single-family home price is now at $360,105, compared with $345,000 for the same quarter in 2018.

In Weber County, the median figure is at $275,800 — $25,800 more than it was the same time the year before, while in Tooele County, it’s $282,250, up $7,250 year over year; and in Davis County, $345,000, a gain of $20,000.

Seven of the region’s 10 most expensive ZIP codes fall within Salt Lake County, the board’s report indicates — all with median prices above $510,000.

Priciest ZIP codes across the five-county region now include the Avenues (84103), at $663,500; Utah County’s Alpine (84004), at $650,000; Emigration (84108), now at $630,000; Weber County’s Huntsville (84317), at $581,220; and Draper (84020), where the median home price is now at $564,337.