UTAH (ABC4) – Buyers looking to purchase a home in Utah know the real estate market has been quickly changing over these past few years. 

Earlier this year, Salt Lake City was named one of the fastest-growing housing markets in the country. Realtor.com predicted a 15.2% increase in home sales and a 8.5% increase in overall price change.

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or someone who’s looking to expand their property portfolio, navigating the Utah real estate market can be frustrating.

As prices continue to soar, one Utah County has hit a real estate milestone — for the first time, the average median home price in Salt Lake County has hit over $600,000.

The Salt Lake Board of Realtors reports that currently, the median home price in Salt Lake County is $628,975

The hefty price tag tops the last year’s number by a bundle. In March 2021, the average median home price was $500,000.

“A report by the Pew Research Center reveals that nearly half of Americans believe the availability of affordable housing is a major problem in their local community,” said Steve Perry, president of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. “Further, 70% of Americans said young adults today have a harder time buying a home than their parents’ generation did.”

There were 1,260 homes (both single-family and multi-family) sold in March 2022 throughout Salt Lake County. The median selling price during this time increased 24% compared to the same time last year with an average of $540,000. The same time last year, the median selling price was $435,000.

When looking at single-family homes only, the median selling price soars even higher at an average of $628,975.

Real estate experts say the soaring homebuying costs and mortgage interest rates pushed monthly mortgage payments up as well. Officials say the monthly payment on a median-price single-family home priced at $629,000 rose to nearly $2,829, based on a 4.2% interest rate and 10% down payment, not including taxes and insurance.

Experts say Utah homebuyers are paying $1,278 more on monthly mortgage payments than last year.

“In the first half of April, the median price of a single-family home in Salt Lake County reached $650,000, as interest rates increased to 5.1%,” says the board. “Based on a median price home of $650,000 and 5.1% interest rate, with a 10% down payment, home buyers today are paying, on average, $1,278 more per month on a mortgage ($3,250) than buyers that purchased at the median price one year ago.”

Officials say the average price per square foot for all housing types also rocketed up 22% at around $254.62. In March 2021, the average price per square foot was $208.33. 

Experts say homes sold in March sat on the market for an average of five days, marking roughly the same amount time as last year.

When ABC4 spoke to Tonya Basset, head of Homie’s buy side agent team, about whether Utah’s real estate market is a “bubble,” Basset believes that may not be true for today’s market.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen here in Utah,” says Basset. “Things are so much different now than in 2008.” She mentioned that a similar crash will most likely be prevented by tighter loaning standards and a dramatic decrease in inventory for consecutive years in Utah.

Bassett predicts a market crash may happen gradually, rather than that of the 2008 housing market crash.

“It will probably happen more gradually,” she says, as interest rates slowly rise on new home loans. When asked about a predicted timeline, Basset said that it “will probably take more than a couple of months,” and up to a couple of years for the market to slow down and equalize.

Basset does warn that potential Utah buyers should be ready to engage in a “brutal market.” 

Her advice when shopping? Speak with a good loan officer to prequalify before making an offer, know what you’re getting into, make sure you’re fully prepared to move and most importantly, choose a real estate agent who’s truly looking out for your best interests.