After brisk December sales, home sales in Tooele County for 2020 still ended up behind 2019.
The number of closed sales for homes in December 2020 was up 32.1% from December 2019, according to data from the Utah Association of Realtors, but the year end total of home sales in the county was down by 1.1%.
“The December sales included a lot of homes from previous months that cleared at the end of the year,” said Chris Sloan, broker with Group1 Real Estate in Tooele.
With the way COVID-19 affected the market, closing the year at about the same as last year was a good accomplishment, according to Sloan.
“Things were shut down for a while,” he said. “COVID-19 hit in March which is usually one of our peaks of sales.”
Earlier in the year, local real estate professionals said sales were down due a shortage of supply of homes to sell, not a lack of prospective buyers.
Sloan said that is still the case, and probably will be for the foreseeable future.
“Utah as a state has an affordability and supply issue,” he said.
Tooele County is no different than the state in those areas, according to Sloan.
Right now there are 22 homes on the market in the county excluding new homes, with new homes the number of listings is 38, he said.
“We have a two weeks supply of homes,” said Sloan. “We usually look at a six month supply as being the tipping point between a buyers and sellers market.”
The shortage of supply has contributed to an increased price for homes in Tooele County, according to Sloan.
In 2019 the median sales price for homes in Tooele County was 279,000. In 2020 the median sales price of a home in the county was $320,000, 14.3% increase.
Statewide the median sales price for 2020 was up 10.8% from the previous year.
Sloan said the local real estate industry is now talking about “attainable” housing” instead of “affordable.”
People have come to associate affordable with low-income, when attainable was meant to refer to housing that is affordable to the average or median income household income in the community, he said.
Looking at the current median price of homes, the homeowner would need to make around $21 to $22 an hour to get into the median home.
“There’s not a lot of jobs at that wage in Tooele County,” said Sloan.
Current homeowners are looking at the market prices and availability and are staying where they are instead of putting their home on the market, he said.
Not only is the lack of supply increasing home costs, but builders, especially the small local builders, have been hit with a shortage of lumber and laborers, according to Sloan.
“It’s going to take a while to work our way out of this,” he said.