Home inventory shortage continues in Utah County

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Real Estate

I hear Realtors bemoaning the listing shortage on a regular basis: “I have buyers and could sell more houses if there were any to sell.”

The inventory shortage continues, punctuated with multiple offers and bids higher than asking price in many price ranges. Well-priced homes in good condition in Utah County are selling quickly, with an average time on the market in April at 47 days, down from 66 days in March.

“Expect to pay the purchase price or above,” notes Aaron Drussel, president of the Utah Central Board of Realtors.

Utah County buyers are a bit more conservative in bidding up properties than buyers in Salt Lake County. In that county to the north buyers are going over the asking price by $20,000 or more in some cases, “which is outside of rational thought,” Drussel said.

He recently posted this on his Facebook page: “This last week I had a client fall in love with a home priced around 500k. Knowing they had multiple offers on the house they came in 21k over list price. Only to find out that the winning bid came in 61k over list price.

“A few days later they found another home they loved priced around 459k, that home was also bid up higher than their 502k offer.

“Being a buyer consultant in a seller's market is not an easy task. One of the key roles of a real estate consultant is being a manager of expectations. What do you say to a buyer in those scenarios?”

He advocates benevolent encouragement.

“The good news is that buyer who outbid everyone is now out of the competition for the next home. On the next house, the odds will be reset. Although many buyers will experience high levels of stress in the home buying process, the key is helping to be a support (and) guide along the journey. The path of benevolent encouragement provides a calming voice to help the client find their success,” he wrote.

It’s a frustrating housing market for both agent and buyer alike. But not as much here in Utah County where people don’t like to over-pay. The average price for a single-family home in April as of this writing is $332,903, with Realtors getting 99 percent of the asking price.

A year ago, the average price was $303,455, but is now up 9.7 percent, with listed homes then capturing 98 percent of the original list price.

The average home measures just under 3,000 square feet, has four bedrooms and three baths and goes for $117 per square foot. The bulk of the active listings in Utah County (250) ranges between $300,000 and $349,999, while the bulk of the listings under contract (266) ranges between $250,000 and $299,000, according to the Wasatch Front Multiple Listing System.

Utah County now has about 15 percent fewer listings than were offered a year ago, the MLS says.

Twice this week buyer clients have asked me to show them a home they found online, but wanted to schedule several days later. By the time they were free to visit it the homes were under contract. The MLS is now showing homes that are under contract. This is helpful, because it gives agents a chance to make backup offers. I sold a home in January using that strategy

More than 90 percent of potential buyers start their search online, yet web leads are generally way ahead of the time they will actually buy, so it’s not unusual that they wait awhile before they actually jump in. On average they look online about 17 months before making their move, industry online specialists say.

 For answers to your real estate questions call 801-360-9133 or email rhardy@cbzhomes.com. Also visit www.brellamarketing.com www.utahforsale.net.