Two is coincidence, three is a trend!
For the last three years, it's been my unofficial duty to be on the receiving end of an unpleasant monthly phone call. It's not that I don't like talking to the good folks at the Tooele Transcript-Bulletin, it's just that I've run out of ways to paint a rosy picture about real estate in general and Tooele real estate specifically. Three years of trying to explain that what we were seeing was really a good thing in the long run was getting to be tough. I believe the time to dread that call has passed!
Traditionally, December has been a pretty good month for Berna and I. While the phones don't ring like they do at other times of the year, we find that when it does ring, the folks on the other end are usually serious buyers. Who would look at homes at that time of year if they weren't serious? So, we were a bit concerned this year when things were more quiet than usual. Until the last week of the year.
Our phones started blowing up immediately after Christmas, and they haven't stopped! For the end of December, I was sure that it was just an anomoly. Then it continued into January. I didn't write about the January numbers because two in a row was just a coincidence, right? If they came in strong for February, then maybe we were on to something. Well, three months is a trend!
The Utah Association of Realtors released their February numbers last week, and they confirm everything that we've been feeling since Christmas. All positive numbers are up, some significantly! How about pending sales up 44% over last year? Actual closed sales (my favorite measure of reality) up over 17%. Listings themselves were up a whopping 52% over same time last year.
Prices are also up, with the average sales price rising a bit more than 1% to $154,500. However, median price was up 7.8% to $156, 250. This also represents an increase of percentage of sales price received to 89%, up more than 4% this year over last.
As far as inventory is concerned, we're down almost 22%, leaving us with a bit less than an 8 month supply. This is down from more than 11 months worth of supply this time last year. Don't even ask about the 'old days' of 2+ years worth of inventory that are still etched in my mind!
As I mentioned earlier, a single month is possibly just an anomoly. However, what we are seeing points more at this being a trend. Year to date numbers are all up, with actual sales being up over 8% for the year, and average sales price being up as well. This is the good news we've been waiting for. However, numbers are just numbers.
The two things we are looking at that signal recovery, at least in Tooele County are fairly simple and straightforward. First of all, we are seeing clients start to build new homes again. After several years with no new construction, we currently have 3 clients building in the County. The second thing is even simpler: the phones are ringing like crazy!
Obviously, we aren't isolated here. Numbers are up all over the State. However, people arer obviously out and about and looking to buy in Tooele County. That allows us to showcase the greatest County there is. Home values, while rising here, are still significantly more affordable here than anywhere else along the Wasatch Front. I think I'll call the newspaper before they call me!
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