Home sales along Wasatch Front close in on a record year

(Leah Hogsten | Tribune file photo) Third-quarter home sales along the Wasatch Front were 13% above the same level last year, wiping away the market effects of COVID-19 lockdowns and related slowdowns in April and May. Real estate agents say Utah is drawing lots of out-of-state buyers right now.

Homes sales along the Wasatch Front have wiped away any losses from COVID-19 and are now on a record-breaking trajectory for 2020.

The Salt Lake Board of Realtors reported Friday that third-quarter sales over the five-county area were 13% above the same months last year, after historically low interest rates and a pandemic-spurred exodus to the suburbs lifted housing markets out of an April and May slowdown.

Sales also are now up 4% for the first nine months of 2020 compared to 2019, with 31,822 homes sold.

Nearly 13,194 homes changed hands across the metropolitan area in July, August and September.

A ZIP code breakdown of third-quarter sales along the Wasatch Front shows gains spread unevenly, with pockets in Salt Lake and Utah counties leading the way.

[See how sales went in your ZIP code here.]

The region as a whole is now on track for one of its best sales years ever for existing homes, after seasonal market highs typically seen in the spring pushed well into the summer and fall months, according to Alicia Holdaway, board president.

“We are seeing many out-of-state buyers moving to Utah,” said Holdaway, echoing comments from dozens of other real estate agents in recent months.

Agents are also crediting a trend of buyers seeking new homes with additional rooms and more yard space to accommodate home offices or gyms. National studies point to households desiring extra space as well for older relatives or young adults who’ve moved in during the coronavirus pandemic.

Current trends would push 2020 to the third-highest sales year in Wasatch Front history, behind 2005 and 2006, when sales peaked as part of the real estate bubble leading into the Great Recession, according to board statistics.

The median price of a home across Salt Lake, Utah, Weber, Davis and Tooele counties as a whole stands at $362,000 — up 10% from the same time a year ago.

Salt Lake County’s median price is now around $430,000, the region’s highest, compared to $381,500 this same time last year. Elsewhere, median price are hovering near $400,000 in Utah County; $388,962 in Davis; $326,995 in Tooele; and $325,750 in Weber, according to board data.

Sales in July, August and September were strongest in Salt Lake and Davis counties, up 11% and 10.3%, respectively, over the previous year.

Nearly a quarter of the 4,276 homes sold in Salt Lake County during those months were located in the southwest suburban cities of Herriman, South Jordan, West Jordan and Riverton, data shows. Draper, Kearns and Cottonwood Heights were also popular. In Davis County, the hottest areas for home sales were in Clearfield and Layton.

Utah County’s sales were 6.3% ahead of last year’s levels, with the fast-selling areas in Lehi, Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs. Those communities account for almost 40% of all home sales in the county.

Tooele County’s third-quarter sales gained a more modest 1% over 2019. The top area there was the city of Tooele, followed by Grantsville. Weber County sales were all but flat compared to those months last year; there, the top-selling spots were Farr West, Roy and South Ogden.