Sales of single-family homes in Utah rose less than 1 percent during the first quarter of this year over the same period in 1997, but home prices shot up 11.22 percent in the quarter, led by a whopping 128 percent gain in the Park City area.

Pat Iannone, executive vice president of the Utah Association of Realtors, termed the Park City increase "mind boggling" and said she had never seen triple-digit increases before even in that high-end resort market.The average sales price of a single-family home in Park City was $773,600 while the average condo cost $375,572.

"We called to make sure the numbers were correct and they are," said Iannone. "They (Park City Realtors) sold a few million-dollar properties during the quarter and that pushed the average sales price way up."

Is this the start of a trend? "There's no way to know," she said. "We'll just have to watch and see what happens in the second quarter."

Nancy Davis, UAR president, termed the 0.85 percent first-quarter overall sales increase and the double-digit jump in prices a "strong start" for the year. She cited Utah's robust economy and low mortgage interest rates for the gains.

According to UAR figures collected from the various boards of Realtors in Utah, home prices have been rising strongly throughout most of the state. The average price of a single-family home in the first quarter of this year was $160,192, a $16,192 increase from a year ago.

Davis said that more than half of the UAR boards reported an increase in sales during the first quarter and 10 of the 14 reported higher average sales prices.

"Overall value continues to increase steadily, making real estate a good investment that is likely to continue improving through the year," said Davis.

Here are the first-quarter results from the state's 14 boards of Realtors:

Salt Lake: Reported a 1.62 percent dip in home sales for the quarter from the same period last year and a 7.27 percent decline in condominium sales. Average sales price for houses was $162,791, up 5.03 percent, while the average for the condos was $116,564, up 9.78 percent.

Utah County: Reported a 3.70 increase in home sales for the quarter with an average sales price of $140,399, down 3.46 percent.

Greater Ogden area: Reported a 2.66 percent increase in home sales at an average price of $125,023, down 2.46 percent.

Park City: Reported a 4.17 percent decline in home sales at an average sales price of $773,600, up 128.32 percent from a year ago. Condo sales were down 4.35 percent at an average price of $375,572, up 30.41 percent.

Tooele County: Reported a 31.67 percent gain in home sales at an average price of $117,793, up 10.60 percent.

Wasatch County: Reported a 41.18 percent increase in sales at an average sales price of $183,529, up 23.51 percent.

Brigham/Tremonton: Reported a 19.75 percent drop in sales of homes with an average sales price of $114,845, up 9.95 percent.

Cache/Rich: reported a 53.57 percent increase in home sales at an average price of $117,423, up 3.41 percent.

Washington County: Reported a 4.66 percent dip in home sales at an average price of $147,671, up 17.99 percent, but a 24.41 percent increase in condo sales at an average price of $117,074, up 7.53 percent.

Iron County: Reported a 39.71 decrease in home sales at an average sales price of $99,096, up 0.36 percent.

Uintah Basin: Logged a strong 60.61 percent increase in sales at an average sales price of $76,931, up 4.45 percent.

Carbon/Emery: Reported a 3.85 percent gain in home sales at an average price of $76,672, up 21.48 percent.

Central Utah: Reported a 3.45 percent decrease in home sales with an average price of $75,196, down 0.84 percent.

Grand/San Juan: Reported a 40 percent decrease in sales with an average price of $111,472, down 9.93 percent.