In September, home sales rose twenty-one percent. Utah Realtors sold nearly 500 more homes this year compared to last September. So far this year, Utah Realtors have sold more homes than they did in 2009 and 2010. Year-to-date sales are up more than five percent compared to the first nine months of last year.
The number of homes for sale dropped off sharply in September. Inventory was down nearly twenty-two percent. This is the fewest number of homes on the market since May 2007.
Perhaps the best news from the report was the steep decline in the absorption rate. The month’s supply of inventory fell more than twenty-two percent in September. It would now take less than nine months to sell the entire inventory of homes for sale at the current market pace.
The month’s supply figure is particularly insightful because it looks at both inventory and sales. As month’s supply decreases, it suggests demand is growing while supply is decreasing. As this happens, home prices will eventually strengthen.
Fewer properties were put up for sale in September. New listings were down about thirteen percent compared to last year. This could suggest that homeowners are waiting to put their homes on the market or fewer foreclosures are being listed.
Homes sales should continue their rise based on the pending sales figures. Signed contracts were up more than twenty-seven percent compared to last September. For the year so far, pending sales are up more than nine percent. This is in line with expectations that home sales will be higher in 2011 than they were in 2010.
The median price of homes sold fell from last year. The median price of about $169,000 is about ten percent lower than last year.
The lower prices combined with close-to-four-percent interest rates, helped make homes more affordable. In September, the UAR’s Housing Affordability Index hit its highest level on record. The average Utah family now makes one-hundred-sixty-eight percent of what is needed to qualify for a median-priced home. This measure takes into account both interest rates and home prices.
Sellers also sold their homes faster in September. This year it took eighty-nine days to sell a home versus ninety-six days last year.