Tooele County’s real estate market continued its recovery in the second quarter of 2013 with a 31.5 percent jump in homes sales over the second quarter of 2012.
“Home sales and values have increased,” said Laney Riegel, president of the Tooele County Association of Realtors. “Things are getting back to normal since the bubble burst.”
Home sales in Tooele County in the second quarter of 2013 reached 263 compared to 200 in the second quarter of 2012.
Other market indicators are also showing improvement.
The median sales price of homes in Tooele County rose from $148,000 in the second quarter of 2012 to $165,000 in the second quarter of 2013. That totals an 11.5 percent increase.
Homes listed for sale in the second quarter of 2013 were on the market for an average of 33 days compared to 45 days for the second quarter of last year.
This is the quickest turn around time for homes since 2007 when homes were on the market for an average of 36 days.
Local real estate agents attribute the healthy second quarter market to increased consumer confidence, changing interest rates, and the potential disappearance of an important finance tool.
“Things appear to be getting better. They are more stable,” said Riegel. “Consumers have more confidence.”
Interest rates, while still low, have started to go up a little, according to Riegel.
“When rates go down and then they start to climb sales usually go up,” she said.
Chris Sloan, broker for Group 1 Real Estate Tooele, agrees that the slow rise in interest rates brings out buyers.
“People see that interest rate climb a little and they decide it’s time to buy,” he said.
Sloan also credits part of the increased sales with buyers trying to beat a Sept. 30 deadline for a U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development loan program. That program provides loans with no down payment and no mortgage insurance.
However, with an increase in Tooele City’s population, according to the 2010 census, people that buy homes within Tooele City will not be able to use the USDA rural loan program after Sept. 30, according to Sloan.
“The loan program has been extended two or three times,” he said. “I don’t know if it will be extended again. We rely on that program a lot to help our clients.”
Sloan is optimistic that growth in the local real estate market that started last year is here to stay
“We’re not seeing another rapid rise that is not sustainable,” he noted. “Instead, this growth is steady and healthy. It’s not another bubble.”
The healthy real estate market in the county may seem backwards considering the layoffs at the county and the closure of the Deseret Chemical Depot, said Riegel.
“I think homes sales in Tooele County are going well because we still have the best deal around,” she said. “Buyers get more for less, we have a safe community and the commute to jobs is good.”
Homes are selling fast and people are coming from all over to move into Tooele County, according to Vicki Griffith, broker for Prudential Utah Real Estate Tooele.
“We see people moving into the county for their job, people coming to Dugway to work, and people from Salt Lake that move out here and ride the bus to work,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of clients ask me lately about the nearest bus stop. That’s something I didn’t used to get asked.”
Griffith agrees with Sloan on the sustainability of the current market trend.
“This isn’t crazy growth,” she said. “The market is returning to a normal pattern.”