Local real estate remains stable
Real estate prices nationwide have dropped substantially over the past year, but locally they have remained relatively stable. And although most realtors in Price will tell stories of how upper level housing has been difficult to sell, they will also relate about the ease of selling middle level houses as well as renting apartments.
"Our inventory is low, and prices are high," said Toni Johnson of Re-Max in Price, adding, "rentals are very, very hard to come by."
Prolonged selling times for upper level housing are not really unusual according to Diane Nagel of Exit 2 Nagel Realty, who said they typically take longer to sell because Carbon County has never had much demand for them traditionally. And while lower priced homes tend to have shorter selling times, they are in short supply.
"We have more buyers than sellers," said Tammy Moore of Trails End Reality. On average the time to sell a home is currently up to around a year, whereas in the past it would only take about three to four months, depending upon the type of home and location.
Across Carbon and Emery counties, however, overall sales are down around 22 percent from a year ago, according to Ruth Metzger of Bridge reality in Price, and although lower priced houses and rentals are in demand, the shortage in supply has caused prices to go up.
One reason rentals are in high demand is again limited supply because every realtor in Price said they either have very few, or none at all.
"I get 12 phone calls a day about rentals," said Nagel. "Every rental we have is filled. Once they move in, they don't leave." Apartments on the cheaper side appear to be the hardest to find, and while they are available, many are in disrepair and according to Nagel it is also important to find a good landlord. "We're picky on our landlords," said Nagel.
As compared to other areas in the country, the local real estate market has been able to show resilience, in part because of local lenders, who did not encourage the types of risky lending that were seen in other parts of the county.
"I'm very pleased with local lenders," said Metzger. New laws, however, could be in place later this summer that would make it harder to get a loan from an out of area lender, and although for the most part, according to all of the realtors interviewed, a majority of loans they accept are local anyway.
Frankie Sacco of Etzel Realty in Price, who was also in praise of lenders believes that while it is a buyers market with deals to had, she also believes that it does take longer to close on houses.
"On average it's longer than it used to be," said Sacco, "it can take about 45 days to close." This is after the house has been offered and the potential buyer is set to buy.
In terms of getting a loan for a house, it is much harder today than it was, even less than a year ago. This is in part because of the tightening of the credit system, but also because many of the loans given out over the past several years were essentially unplayable due to a variety of factors, but with the current situation it can be hard for almost anyone to get a loan.
"Modular homes are probably the hardest to sell, or get a loan for," said Johnson. "A lot of the mortgage problems came from such houses."
The real estate situation does however look to be getting better because while it can take longer to close on a house,
"Things have slowed, but they're picking up," said Nagel, adding that home prices in Carbon County never really got very high to begin with as compared with what happened in other more urban parts of the country. And although many new changes to the financial system will likely happen during the next year, they are intended to "create a good check and balance system," according to Sacco, who adds that nothing is final as of yet.
"Everyday we get something new" with the laws, concluded Sacco.