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Front Page » March 13, 2008 » Local News » Realtors: Home sales strong
Published 2,761 days ago

Realtors: Home sales strong

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Sun Advocate community editor

Despite a harrowing real estate market in some areas of the country, local agents are reporting that the property business in Carbon County is moving along just fine.

"We have had a crazy amount of business in the last week and a half," said Ruth Metzger of Bridge Realty. "And over the last six months we have seen a modest drop in the amount of time homes are staying on the market."

Metzger reported that homes priced in the mid range at between $70,000 and $150,000 are selling faster now than they have in the past year.

According to Metzger, prices in the local market have only changed $3,000 with an average of 3 to 4 homes open per Realtor.

"On average our office has been seeing between four and eight rental properties available at any one time," said Metzger. "In my opinion the real estate market is isolated here in the Castle Valley. It is local successes and problems that affect our market, not what is going on nationally or even within the state to a large degree."

The affect that it has could be a positive one as the Utah market is also reporting good news, according to a March article titled National Expert Debunks Real Estate Market by Jamie Huish Stum of Utah.Business.

Stum reports that the Utah real estate market will make it through the national softening of property values for both homeowners and developers.

She states that many buyers panic unnecessarily about the local residential real estate market when they see national media reporting a plummet in housing prices.

Stum's source was Peter Linneman, a national economist and founder of the Wharton School of Business.

He is also known as one of the 25 most influential in real estate, according to Realtor Magazine.

In Stum's article, Linneman reported that while growth in Utah's real estate market has slowed, standing inventory will be filled in the next six to 14 months.

"The U.S. economy is doing exactly what is should be doing," said Linneman.

Currently, 450,000 homes sit unoccupied across the nation, Linneman said. However, 25 percent are located in southern and central Florida and an additional 25 percent in Phoenix, Ariz., Las Vegas, Nev. and southern California.

The rest are scattered fairly evenly across the United States.

Similarly,, existing home sales including single family, town homes, condominiums and co-ops slipped 0.4 percent to seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million units in January from an upwardly revised level of 4.91 million in December and are 23.4 percent below the 6.44 million unit pace in Jan. 2007.

The national median existing home price for all housing types was $201,000 in January, down 4.6 percent from a year ago when the median was $210,900.

Because the slowdown in sales is greater in high cost markets, there is a downward pull to the national median from a year ago when there were relatively more sales in higher priced areas.

NAR President Richard Gaylord, a broker with REMAX real estate specialists in Long Beach, Calif., said some buyers in high-cost areas are waiting for higher limits on conventional loans.

"Keep in mind the biggest slowdown in home sales last year was in high cost markets, which were hard hit by the credit crunch and notably higher interest rates for jumbo loans, but relief is on the way," said Gaylor in a Walt Molony article titled, Existing homes sales slip in January as some potential buyers wait on sidelines.

Once buyers have greater access to higher loan limits, it will take a few months for increased shopping activity to translate into higher sales.

We should see some movement of pent up demand by this summer, but higher loan limits need to be implemented fully and promptly to have maximum benefit."

While areas of the nation remain in trouble the Utah economy and market are strong enough to have started attracting larger companies into the area.

Utah's economic development guru with the governor's office, Jason Perry, has stated that Utah is as competitive as any state for bringing in big business.

"By all key indicators, we have the hottest economy that exists right now," quoted Perry in Stum's piece.

For the local market large companies could have some trickle down effect, but as Metzger stated earlier that will depend just how big the trickle is.

"We do feel separated down here. Sometimes our market seems dependent on what goes on in our own backyards," concluded Metzger.

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