First-time homebuyers ‘don’t even stand a chance’ as median price tops $500,000 in Salt Lake County

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The median sale price for homes in Salt Lake County this April was roughly $515,000, a dramatic increase from last year with no signs of slowing.

That’s according to Steve Perry, who says prices jumped 27% year over year in the county. Perry, the president-elect with Salt Lake Board of Realtors, says he’s never seen anything like this in his more than 20 years working around real estate.

“First time homebuyers, prices are just sky rocketing,” said Perry.

“It is difficult. They don’t even stand a chance right now if they don’t have cash,” he added.

According to Perry, potential home buyers are being forced to get creative since cash offers abound in this competitive market. Utah, according to the 2020 census, is the fastest-growing state in the country, and in Salt Lake County, inventory is down 59%.

“Using investors to hard money loan them cash, and then they’ll re fi that same property within 90 days to pay off that hard money loan, so that they actually have cash to purchase the property,” said Perry.

And first-time homebuyers say the stress — and constant disappointment — wears on them. Take Alexis and Austin Smith, who put in at least half a dozen offers including one offer of more than $50,000 over asking price.

They were outbid by a cash buyer.

“It’s like someone just slugs you in the gut, and it keeps happening over and over and over again,”
said Alexis.

Finally, she says, they experienced a lucky miracle. A cash buyer pulled out last-minute on a West Valley home, and they finally got their offer accepted. It’s a difficult time to buy, they know, but nothing indicates the prices will decrease.

Perry, with Salt Lake Board of Realtors, says in another six months, the price on a Salt Lake County home could very well be $50,000 more than it is today. We aren’t experiencing a bubble, he says. This is a shortage of supply.

“We’re worried about the next generation being able to get into homes. They’re going to be renting for a long time,” said Perry.

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