In Utah, there are far more Realtors than homes for sale

In Salt Lake County, that number is almost 19 Realtors per listing.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) A house is put on the market in Sandy, Jan. 2021. Home sales on the Wasatch Front Utah broke all records in 2020 as record-low interest rates, working from home, in-migration and new pandemic-driven tastes for more space and suburban areas triggered an unprecedented buying spree.

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According to a national association, there were almost 1.5 times as many Realtors as there were homes for sale in America in February.

The numbers aren’t that bad in Utah. They’re worse. Far worse.

There are 26,407 Realtors in the state, according to February figures from the Utah Division of Real Estate. As of Tuesday, there were 1,909 homes listed on the multiple listing service — so there are almost 14 realtors for each home that’s for sale.

“It’s a battlefield out there,” said Dave Anderton, spokesman for the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

According to the National Association of Realtors, it had 1,448,090 members in February. At the end of the month, there were 1.03 million active listings, down 29.5% from February 2020.

The numbers aren’t any better in Salt Lake County, where there are roughly 10,000 Realtors and, as of Tuesday, there were 532 active listings. That’s almost 19 agents per home on the market — condos, townhomes and single-family homes.

A year ago, there were about 7,000 homes for sale in Utah and about 1,600 homes for sale in Salt Lake County.

“The problem isn’t too many agents, the problem is we just don’t have any inventory,” Anderton said. “Everyone’s moving here.”

He attributes the current situation to the pandemic, because so many buyers have been coming from other parts of the country.

“Beginning last June, our sales started to tick up,” Anderton said. “In July, they skyrocketed. That’s when we saw the influx of out-of-state people.”

There are no “hard numbers” for how many out-of-state buyers entered the Utah market, “but the Realtors I talk to are telling me all their clients are from out of state right now.”

What homes are for sale are going quickly.

“When a home comes on the market, it’s sold that day,” Anderton said. “We’re seeing 50 offers on every home for sale right now. Everyone is offering over the asking price — $50,000, $100,000 in some cases.”

Buyers are offering cash or huge down payments, and waiving contingencies. Some are buying homes sight-unseen. And when, in some cases homes don’t appraise for the agreed-upon price, “sometimes the sellers won’t budge. They’ll say, ‘Cough up the cash, we’re not lowering the price,’” Anderton said. “I’m hearing a lot of frustration from home buyers, and Realtors, too.”