Home prices in Tooele County are up for a third consecutive quarter.
The average price of a home sold in Tooele County during the third quarter of 2012 was $150,000, which is 7.2 percent higher than the third quarter of 2011, according to the Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service.
The rising prices have local real estate agents optimistic about the future of the market following a 30 percent drop in home prices in Tooele County between the second quarter of 2007 and the fourth quarter of 2011. During this time, median home prices fell from $191,000 to $135,000
“I think we have ridden out the tough times and regular market conditions are returning,” said Griffith. “Short sales are slowing down and houses are starting to sell for their true market value.”
Chris Sloan, broker for Group 1 Real Estate in Tooele, agrees.
“We aren’t seeing new short sales like we used to and the ones that were on the market have sold,” said Sloan. “The days of people getting a real steal on a short sale or foreclosure are over.”
People that owe more on their home than what it is currently worth are refinancing or using loan modifications instead of short sales, according to Sloan.
“We are seeing more people selling their home because they want to rather than because they need to,” said Sloan.
The basic principles of supply and demand are controlling home prices, according to Nicole Cloward, who along with Melissa Collings own the RE/MAX Complete Real Estate franchise in Grantsville.
“Sales have picked up and reduced the inventory of homes,” said Cloward. “When supply goes down and the demand goes up, the price goes up. It is basic economics.”
The reduction of inventory for sale is sparking an increase in new home construction, said Cloward, who adds the upward trend in prices is also causing people that have been watching the market to get off the fence and start buying.
“People are seeing the prices starting to go up and they know we have hit bottom,” said Cloward.
The number of homes sold in Tooele County in the third quarter of 2012 was 223, up 2.7 percent from the third quarter of 2011.
While the greatest demand is for homes under $200,000, Griffith is starting to see movement in the upper end of the market.
“We sold five new homes in South Rim this quarter, all in the $350,000 range,” said Griffith.
Homes are also selling faster, with the average home staying on the market in Tooele County for 49 days in the third quarter of 2012 compared to 82 days for the third quarter of 2011, a 40 percent decrease.
Homes in Tooele County have not sold so fast since 2007, when the average days on the market for a home was 35.
“Short sales used to take a long time so as short sales are dropping the time on the market is decreasing,” said Sloan. “Lenders are also getting better at processing loans, which has helped decrease the days on the market.”
For Griffith, those short listing times are a sign of stabilization.
“We are getting back to the kind of numbers we used to see before the housing bubble burst and the recession hit,” said Griffith. “I think things are settling back into more of a normal pattern.”