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May Newsletter

Student Debt’s Drag On Homeownership Means More Renters –

John Burns writes in his latest email that for eight years in a row now, homeownership has fallen in the first quarter.

Source: Rental Housing Journal Editors

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As tight inventories left home buyers facing fewer choices, home sales across the Wasatch Front fell in the first three months of 2017 compared to the same period a year earlier. In the first quarter, sales of single-family homes along the Wasatch Front dropped 5 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016.

New listings in the first quarter are down 6 percent from a year ago. That represents more than 500 fewer homes for sale along the Wasatch Front this year compared to last year. This is one of the strongest seller’s markets ever. Competition is fierce for homes priced under $500,000. Many sellers are making the sale of their home contingent on them finding another property.

Utah’s hot economy, strong net migration, and new household formations are making it difficult for first-time buyers to find homes. Competition even exists for higher-priced homes.

While sales of single-family homes are showing declines, condominium sales are on the rise. In Salt Lake County condo sales climbed 6 percent in the first quarter year-over-year. Typically, condos are less expensive than single-family homes, driving many first-time buyers to consider them.

The median price of a single-family home on the Wasatch Front increased to $280,000, up from $255,000 a year ago. Salt Lake County had the highest single-family home price of the five counties along the Wasatch Front at a median of $300,000 in the first quarter, up 10 percent from a year ago. Utah County home prices were the second highest at a median of $287,000, an 8 percent year-over-year rise. Homes in Weber County were the most affordable along the Wasatch Front at a median price of $205,000.

The average cumulative days a single-family home was on the market in the first quarter in Salt Lake County fell to 48 days, down from 59 days in the first quarter of 2016.

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