Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

April 13, 2017
Home shortage causes ‘crazy’ market

Some home sales in Tooele County are only hours old as buyers jockey against each other for a place to live 

With houses that sell in six hours, the local market may run out of homes for buyers.

Multiple Listing Service statistics for the first quarter of 2017 show that the average number of days that a home stays on the market in Tooele County dropped from 43 during the first quarter of 2016 to 23 in the first quarter of 2017.

However, the 23 days on the market figure is an average, and doesn’t tell the story of what has happened to real estate in the county and throughout the state of Utah, according to Faye Hall, president of the Tooele County Board of Realtors and a broker with Home Fusion Real Estate.

“Five or six days is a long time for a house to stay on the market right now,” Hall said. “We have buyers, qualified finance available, but there is a shortage of homes to sell, which has made the market crazy.”

Vicki Griffith, broker for Premier Real Estate of Tooele, said she has seen a home sell in less than six hours on the market.

There were 170 active homes on the market in Tooele County as of Wednesday, according to a Wasatch Front MLS report. The average number of homes sold in Tooele County over the last two months is 195.5.

That leaves the current supply of homes for sale in the county 25.5 homes short of the most recent trend in the demand, according to MLS data.

Griffith said she knows of some people making offers before they have even seen the home.

“They make an offer to hold the home so it won’t sell before they can do a walk through,” Griffith said. “Then if they don’t like the home, they find a reason to withdraw the offer.”

Griffith said she won’t accept an offer for a home she has listed, unless the home has been shown to the prospective buyer.

“It’s not worth my time and it’s not fair to the seller who may miss out on the other offers that could have been made,” she said.

Hall described a couple of other “crazy” things she has seen recently caused by the short supply of homes for sale.

“We are seeing offers with escalation clauses,” she said. “In an escalation clause, the buyer agrees to pay a specified amount over any other offer.”

People are also starting to make offers over the listed amount and offering cash for the difference between the listed and offered amount.

Banks and mortgage companies often will not finance a home for more than the appraised amount, however when the prospective buyer brings cash to the table it can be a game changer, according to Hall.

Hall said she has also seen more multiple offers on the same home than she has seen for some time.

“In 24 hours you may see 10 offers on a home,” she said. “I’ve seen homes with as many as 20 offers.”

The median sales home price in Tooele County during the first quarter of 2017 was up 8.9 percent over the first quarter of 2016, from $197,500 to $215,000.

Part of that increase is due to the short supply of homes for sale driving values up. An increase in sales of homes on the upper end of the price range also has helped the median sales value to increase, according to both Griffith and Hall.

While days on the market are down and sales prices are up for the first quarter of 2017, the number of homes sold in the first quarter of 2017 dropped from 257 to 222, which is 13.6 percent less than the first quarter of 2016.

“We can’t sell them if we don’t have them,” Griffith said.

Hall agrees.

“What we need is a balance of qualified buyers, available financing, and homes to sell,” Hall said. “Right now the shortage of homes to sell is making things crazy.”

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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