Utah housing market ripe with opportunity

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  • Lowonoil Clearfield, UT
    Sept. 9, 2011 7:20 a.m.

    "Look around Eureka. Several houses, $125,000 and under. Peace and Quiet out here. Wonderful place to live!"

    As any realtor will tell you: "Superfund site means extra value."

  • GoldieZ Eureka, UT
    Sept. 8, 2011 3:52 p.m.

    Look around Eureka. Several houses, $125,000 and under. Peace and Quiet out here. Wonderful place to live!

  • WillTheWolf SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 8, 2011 3:44 p.m.

    The press & politicians have too much stake in the real estate here in Utah . . . all they do is lie about the market. The market here hasn't made sense since about 2003 . . . since then, Utahns on average pay an exorbitant amount of their take-home pay for housing vs. most of the country. Lower than average wages certainly adds to this figure . . . but the bottom line is that until the median price of a home here matches the -16% of the US median that our median income does, it makes no sense to buy a home here.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Sept. 8, 2011 3:39 p.m.

    @carman: You'll have to pardon me. Where I'm from $150,000 will get you a 10-20 year old 3BR 2BA house with a 2-car garage in any number of subdivisions. My parents have a McMansion on a lake and it cost them $300,000 *before* the housing bubble popped.

    Housing prices here in the valley are nothing short of ridiculous, I'm not even going to consider buying anything for another 2-3 years. Prices are going to fall another 25% before this is all over, and interest rates certainly aren't going to go up for a good while.

  • mcgilm SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 8, 2011 2:50 p.m.


    No, the amount of money required during the refi to cover the lien from the medical bills ate up much of the equity in the house, so it was almost like starting over. As home prices were rising we were doing OK, and over the years we've made the payments, but that last huge drop put us upside down in the mortgage. We still owe about $15K more than the house is worth right now.

  • Lowonoil Clearfield, UT
    Sept. 8, 2011 1:45 p.m.

    You bought your house and have lived in it since the late 80's as well as used it to secure a large loan? And you could still convert it to $106K cash if you had to? Sounds like you haven't lost anything yet.

  • mcgilm SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 8, 2011 12:58 p.m.

    We lost our shorts on our house over the last year. The house was purchased in the late 80's, but a divorce and a lien from medical bills forced a refinance about 10 years ago. We've been making the payments, and it's not about the money, but the median home price in our area dropped 33.3% from Q2 2010 to Q2 2011. Our house went from being worth about $160K to being work about $106K.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Sept. 8, 2011 12:20 p.m.


    I agree that the days of the McMansion have largely come to a close. But - Don't color your analysis with your own experience or pocketbook. The $100-150k market is largely a starter home market, with homes that are too small for a growing family. It is the step-up market that got skipped in the building boom. Instead of building the $200-350k homes, particularly the $200-250k range, speculators and builders poured money into granite filled mini-McMansions that now sell for $400-600k even AFTER the plunge in housing prices. These houses are everywhere and above the affordability level of even most middle-upper income Utahns.

    But try to find a 2,500-3,000 sq ft home(including finished basement) in a good school district. Most are homes built in the 60's, 70's and early 80's that are very energy inefficient. All-in costs for these homes, including taxes and utilities, stretch the average family's budget. A focus on modest, energy efficient homes during the building boom would have left us in a much better place today. Unfortunately, however, this size home, even on a modest lot, will start in the $200k range.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Sept. 8, 2011 10:16 a.m.

    @Carman: $200-350k? Get real. Most people are looking for a $100-150k house. The days of everyone living in a crackerbox McMansion are over.

    @UU32: Let the banks sit on those homes. The longer they do the better it will be for prospective homeowners. Once a few more years have passed and banks have to start putting money into thousands of empty houses for maintenance (roofing, paint, yard work, etc.) they'll realize that selling them for whatever they can get is the right way to go.

    It's all part of leveling the American economy. Prices on everything are going to fall over the next 5 years, the laws of economics say they have to. Companies can't charge more for products than customers are willing to pay. Keep those prices high for too long and you'll be out of business.

    Before the recession the average household brought in $50,000/yr. The average new car cost $35,000 and the average house cost $250,000.

    When the recession finally ends the average household will be bringing in $40,000/yr. The economy will eventually adjust to that $10,000 in lost income.

  • UU32 Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 8, 2011 9:10 a.m.

    This all sounds good and well, until you take a deeper look at the mountain of bank owned homes that are being held on banks books and are not yet on the market. This is compounded by the amount of speculative new construction housing properties also owned by banks after foreclosures or bankruptcies. The long hard days are not over my friends. Be wise, live within your means, don't take on too much debt all in the name of "seeking the American dream". The American dream is opportunity - not the ability to acquire "things" using other people's money.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Sept. 8, 2011 8:56 a.m.

    There are too many $350-700k homes, and not enough $200-350k homes in Utah. Too much speculation in the McMansion space from 2004-2007, too little income too support it, too many mom-and-pop entrepreneurs and multi-level marketers, and not enough big business providing relatively stable jobs.

    Prices have come down a long way, and may need to come down a bit more in the upper priced homes to clear the market. But the market is slowly clearing. There are NO homes for sale now in our neighborhood, compared to 10 or so two years ago. And a new home is being built as we speak. But there are too many folks who are still struggling with unemployment, underemployment and low wages.

    Frankly folks, we may need to not expect to live in 5,000-6,000 sq ft homes. Maybe 3,000 is sufficient.

  • Lowonoil Clearfield, UT
    Sept. 8, 2011 8:37 a.m.

    Most of the loss of suburban home values is yet to come. The reason is that it is inevitable that automobile use will become insanely expensive by today's standards, and it is impossible to function in today's auto dependent suburbs without heavy car use.
    Suburbanites will be practically giving away their homes in order to relocate to walkable transit served neighborhoods where they won't be crushed by car expenses.

  • NoBoxScot Salt Lake City, Utah
    Sept. 8, 2011 8:11 a.m.

    If there is money to be made, there are lies to be told. Who do you believe?

  • FreeMan Heber City, UT
    Sept. 8, 2011 6:29 a.m.

    "Veteran Realtor David Seiler with ReMax Associates said prices will likely continue to fall as "the market struggles to find its reality" from the artificially high prices of a few years ago."

    If you have money for a down payment, good credit and a stable income, now is a great time to buy, Wykstra said

    Combine the two statements and you get: "If you don't mind loosing tens of thousands of dollars as you watch the value of your home continue to drop, now is a great time to buy".

  • awsomeron1 Oahu, HI
    Sept. 8, 2011 1:40 a.m.

    I could sell my house in Hawaii and buy a home in Utah with the profit I would make fromb selling my home in Hawaii, Evan being retired there is one huge braw back. Utah is to COLD. Way to Cold.

    I awim in the Ocean on Christmas and New Years just because I can.