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Has the housing market hit bottom? Home sales are still down but appear to be gaining summer steam.

The Salt Lake City metro area has one of the nation’s top housing markets with the most dramatic decline in home sales each year since high interest rates froze the market.

However, home sales also appear to be gaining strength ahead of the summer.

That’s according to RE/MAX’s National Housing Markets Report for May, which surveyed 51 metropolitan areas across the United States, which found that home sales increased 20% and new listings increased 8.7% during the month of April, seasonally among the 51 metro areas.

Home sales are still down 18.7% from May, but “solid demand amid inventory shortages” is helping home prices rise slightly. According to RE/MAX, the national average selling price was still down 1.9% from May 2022, but this May was up 3.2% month over month to $423,000. This is an uptick from the fall 2022 slowdown, when the mid-October price was $399,000 after three consecutive months of price declines.

RE/MAX President and CEO Nick Bailey said in a prepared statement, “The significant increase in home sales in May signals the start of a peak sales season, but inventory shortages remain a top concern for homebuyers.”

“The majority of homeowners have mortgage rates below 5%, and a significant portion of them are below 3.5%, so we don’t see as much moving activity as usual,” said Bailey. “This means that buyers have a smaller list to choose from and are likely to continue to fluctuate in the market. That said, sales are still going on and experienced agents are still looking for solutions for buyers and sellers.”

Salt Lake City’s housing market

Of the 51 markets included in RE/MAX’s survey, the Salt Lake City metro area was among the top five markets with the largest year-over-year decline in transactions closed in May. The month ended with 1,113 deals, down 29.3% from 1,575 in May 2022.

Here’s how RE/MAX ranks the five markets with the largest year-over-year decline in closed deals.

  1. Seattle, Washington — 4,290 transactions in May 2023 compared to 6,494 in May 2022, a decrease of 33.9%.
  2. Anchorage, Alaska — 444 transactions in May 2023, down 32.5% from 658 in May 2022.
  3. Portland, Oregon — 2,595 transactions in May 2023, up 31.8% from 3,806 in May 2022.
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii — 712 transactions in May 2023, down 30.3% from 1,021 transactions in May 2022.
  5. Salt Lake City, Utah — 1,113 transactions in May 2023, down 29.3% from 1,575 in May 2022.

But even though home sales in the Salt Lake Area are down from this time last year, RE/MAX’s report shows an increase in activity each month. According to RE/MAX, there were 1,113 closed deals in May, up 10.6% from April.

Compare October 2022, when Salt Lake City Metro saw the biggest drop in home sales, with closing deals down 48.3% year-over-year, according to RE/MAX’s report for that month. The metro area recorded 902 transactions in October, down from 1,747 in October 2022, when the Utah housing market was hot.

RE/MAX reported that the Salt Lake City Metro’s median selling price also increased month over month, up 7.1% month over month to $525,000.

However, prices are still declining from year to year.

According to the Salt Lake Board of Realtors, the median price for all home types in Salt Lake County fell 10.8% year over year to $495,000 in April. The median price for a single-family home was $577,000, down nearly 9% from $633,000 in April 2022. For multifamily homes, including condominiums, townhomes and twin homes, the median price was $423,750, down 5.8% year-over-year. .

That month, Salt Lake County was still doing well in a depressed market with consistently high mortgage rates. The County closed 908 transactions, a 32.4% decrease compared to 1,343 transactions in April 2022.

“Rising mortgage interest rates have significantly increased monthly payments, posing affordability challenges for potential buyers,” Salt Lake Realtor Association president Rob Ockey said in a prepared statement in late May. “Also, homeowners are reluctant to sell their properties and lose interest rates, which are currently low.”

Still, limited supply is putting pressure on house prices. According to the Salt Lake Board of Realtors, the median price for a single-family home is $577,000, up nearly 8% from $535,750 in January.

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