Low Housing Inventory Driving Demand, Prices For Homes In Utah

Apr 13, 2021, 7:16 PM | Updated: 8:30 pm

SANDY, Utah – The number of homes on the market—known as inventory—has plummeted by 72% so far this month for a large portion of Utah when compared to April of last year, according to the Utah Association of Realtors.

“I’ve worked here since 2004 and never have I seen a market like this,” said Deanna Devey, the association’s director of communications and operations.

The average number of active residential listings per day is at 2,172 so far this April, according to preliminary data compiled by Devey for KSL-TV from the Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service and UtahRealEstate.com.

Compare that to April of 2019, when the listing service averaged 8,477 homes for sale and April of 2020 the service average 7,839 homes on the market.

The most recent finalized statewide housing inventory report is for February, which showed 64% fewer homes on the market than in February 2020.

“It’s a record low,” Devey said about February’s finalized number, adding that their records go back to 2003.

Those selling a home are benefiting from the ultra-low inventory and are receiving multiple offers for above the asking price. But the lack of options is turning into desperation for buyers trying to get an offer accepted, Devey said, with some doing away with contingencies for inspections, appraisals and financing.

“Buyers are using all kinds of different strategies to make their offers stand out,” Devey said. “Some buyers are choosing to waive those contingencies, but if you’re a buyer you’ve got to be really, really careful about doing that because there’s a lot of risk involved.”

Spring is typically a time when people try to sell their homes, Devey said, and agents are watching to see if more homes are listed for sale during the latter half of April.

“We have lack of people willing to put their home on the market,” said real estate agent Caro Norton who owns New Star Real Estate with offices in Vernal and Roosevelt.

Norton, who is also the 2021 president of the Utah Association of Realtors, said potential sellers are worried about finding other affordable housing or a home that they want to purchase.

“Lack of inventory means that it’s exhausting for the buyers to try and find a home,” she said.

Norton said the inventory situation is stressful for everyone but that buyers without cash are especially hurt by the intense competition.

“Some of them that have to take out a loan for that home and have low-down-payment-type loan programs it makes it almost impossible to get into a home,” she said. “It’s making it very difficult and tricky.”

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Low Housing Inventory Driving Demand, Prices For Homes In Utah