Utah’s Housing Shortage: How Did We Get Here?

When the pandemic first began there was a sense of concern for the real estate market as fears of another market crash arose. Earlier in the year, we did see a dip in the market locally and nationwide. We are now seeing a surge. Why is this happening? Well, it is a combination of a few different factors, supply, mortgage rates, and location. 

Utah’s Perfect Storm 

The Utah market has seen a massive surge this year. The demand for homes was already high pre-pandemic. As the year goes on, we are only seeing an increase in that demand. We are only seeing houses stay on the market for a median of 12 days. It takes half the time to sell a house today than it did last year. In the month of August 2020, 5,201 total homes were sold with a median price of $362,000. 

The only downside we are seeing to this massive surge is the lack of inventory. While we have seen in the past that Utah has had a problem with inventory, and that problem has been heightened during this current time. When we compare the data from this August compared to last year, we can clearly see this shift. The market now has more pending sales than it has houses on the market, while last year it was the reverse scenario. 

Utah has seen an increase in the number of people wanting to move here for various reasons, this increase in population, and the fact people are staying in their homes longer has led to a market where there are more buyers out in the market then there are sellers.   

Inventory

It’s not only Utah. We see similar trends across the country. The demand for real estate in the Utah market is increasing, but the inventory is starting to dwindle. To put it simply, homes are selling too quickly for the market to keep up. Specifically for Utah, there are 5,184 active listings and 9,995 pending sales. There is a 3 month supply at the current sales pace, which is well below the 6-month pace needed to keep a balanced real estate market.  The national housing inventory has seen a decline including decreases in the inventory of newly listed properties. Due to this shortage, homes are selling up to 18 days faster than the year prior. There has also been an increase in the average price of a  sale; 8.5% more than last year

Even though we see a limited supply in the housing market, there is still a strong demand for the buyer’s side. 

Mortgage Rates

The biggest reason that people are so willing to buy homes at this time is because of the interest rates. According to Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner, In the August reports, for a 30yr fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rate is at a shockingly low rate of 2.9%, last year the rate was sitting at 3.73%. These are historically low numbers. 

With the housing prices rising and the interest rates being so low, you have to look at the difference between the price and the actual cost of the houses you are buying. Even though the house price is higher, with lower interest rates, the monthly mortgage payments are still comparable. With lower rates, it costs less to borrow money from lenders to get the money for your house. This means that buyers may be able to afford more house than initially expected, and is pulling buyers onto the market. 

Why Does This Matter? 

This high demand for homes is predicted to continue on throughout the year, and possibly carry over into 2021. On the buyer’s side, we see historically low-interest rates, which can help counteract the rising price of houses. On the other side, sellers are getting more for their listings than before with the increasing price of houses, and heavy demand will decrease the time needed for your home to sell. The main issue on hand is the housing shortage, and only time will tell how that will affect the market in the long term.

For weekly updates on the housing market, keep an eye on the Windermere Utah Facebook page, as every Monday we post “Mondays with Matthew,” a video update from our Chief Economist about the market.

Posted on October 6, 2020 at 10:58 pm
Matthew Sidford | Category: Market Trends | Tagged , , , ,

Safe Halloween Celebrations for 2020

By now, nearly everyone has heard that the CDC is discouraging traditional trick-or-treating practices this year. Even though we can’t do the usual door-to-door routine, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate. After all, Halloween is a time for connecting with your community, and there is certainly more than one way to do that!

Here are a few of our ideas to celebrate: 

Host a socially-distanced neighborhood pumpkin carving contest

This is inspired by the Neighborhood Art Walk that one of our agents, Joilyn Anderson, hosted back in April. Create a flyer for everyone in the neighborhood inviting them to carve a pumpkin. Invite them to set up their pumpkin at the end of their driveway or sidewalk on a certain day and time, and neighbors can then walk down the middle of the street to see the art pieces while maintaining social distancing. 

Another idea with this same concept is a door decorating contest, where each of your neighbors is invited to decorate their door with Halloween themed decorations. 

One-way trick-or-treating

 

If you’re not quite ready to give up on the concept of trick-or-treating, you can individually wrap goodie bags and line them up on a table at the end of your driveway or yard for families to grab and go with zero contact.

If you want to monitor your table and converse with those who stop by, make sure to wear a mask and social distance. For an extra level of protection, provide hand sanitizer on your table as well. 

Monster Egg Hunt

Photo from TingedBlue.com showing some ideas for monster eggs.

Take a tip from the Easter bunny, and turn your Easter eggs into little monsters and other icons typical of Halloween.

Fill your eggs with candy, and hide them around the house for your kids to find. Let them dress up and then send them searching throughout the house. They get all the fun of finding the goodies while remaining safe and socially distant. 

Find some inspiration and ideas for decorating with these spook-tacular egg designs

Scavenger hunt

Easily give your family a way to get outside and look around at Halloween decorations, while remaining safe by creating a scavenger hunt. Give your family a list of Halloween-themed items to find, and check off a list as they admire from a distance. 

Open-air costume party

You don’t want to miss out on the fun of dressing up for Halloween, so get dressed in your Halloween finery. Part of the fun is seeing everyone’s reactions to your costume, right? 

Bring your friends and family together in a spacious outdoor area that allows for social-distancing, and have a fun time dancing, talking, and adopting the mannerisms of your characters all night long. 

This idea can easily be moved to a virtual event if you and your family are at higher risk. 

Outdoor spooky movie night

A favorite pastime of many Halloween enthusiasts is watching as many scary movies as possible during October. Others watch Hocus Pocus on repeat. 

No matter which camp you fall in, gather your friends and family in your backyard to socially distance on blankets and camp chairs while they watch a spooky movie projected onto a screen. You can all enjoy the movie together while staying safe. 

Here are some tips for how to set up an incredible outdoor movie night

This idea can easily be moved to a virtual event if you and your family are at higher risk. 

Extra tips for parents

If you’re taking your kids on a trick-or-treating run, scavenger hunt, neighborhood contest, or other fun neighborhood events, follow current recommendations and take extra precautions to keep your family safe. 

  • Have your kids wear a face mask—incorporate it into your kid’s costume to make wearing the mask fun
  • Have a parent or other adult accompany children of any age to hold them accountable for mask-wearing and social distancing
  • Avoid congregating around doorsteps, porches, or tables
  • Use hand sanitizer after receiving candy from each house
  • Do not eat candy while trick or treating
  • Have kids wash their hands as soon as they get home, and take a shower once they remove their costumes
  • Set trick-or-treating candy aside for a few days (common research and belief is that COVID-19 can live on plastics and similar surfaces for up to 3 days)
Posted on October 6, 2020 at 10:34 pm
Matthew Sidford | Category: Living | Tagged , , , , ,

Utah Soaring to New Heights with Updated Salt Lake International Airport

At 5 a.m. on September 15th, 2020, the early morning silence was broken by the sound of cheers and jet engines. This was the day of the grand opening of the brand new, $4.1 billion Salt Lake City International Airport. This marks a new chapter of travel for those coming and going to the Salt Lake Area. 

Picture of the exterior of the Salt Lake City International Airport (Photo from the Salt Lake International Airport Facebook page)

 

After patiently waiting 3,163 days, everyone can now enjoy the new airport. Due to COVID-19 and the reduction of the passenger numbers flowing through the airport, about two years were saved in the construction process. On top of saving time, they were able to save an estimated $300 million. Additionally, Salt Lake City did not use any local tax dollars on the reconstruction project. This new rendition of the airport comes with many upgraded amenities and new perks travelers can enjoy.

 

A top priority for the construction of the airport was to capture Utah’s beauty and put it on display. When you first see the airport you can instantly see the attention to detail. The new terminal has native Utah plants in the landscaping, distinct colors to represent Utah inside and out, and added giant glass windows in the terminals for stunning views of the mountain backdrop of Salt Lake City. On top of that, there is a new art piece called The Canyon, a football field-sized art piece that shows Utah’s diverse topography and natural beauty. 

Picture of The Canyon art piece in the Salt Lake City International Airport (Photo from the Salt Lake International Airport Facebook page)

 

The terminal hosts all-new dining and shopping experiences. When combined with some old favorites, you will find 58 total dining and shopping locations. The airport is lined with well-respected brands such as Shake Shack, Hip & Humble, LEGO, Uinta Brewing and so much more. While there are a lot of new additions, there are some familiar favorites like Cafe Rio, Squatters Pub, and XpresSpa. Whether you are running late and just need a snack and a magazine, or you have some time to unwind with a glass of wine and enjoy the shops, the new airport has checked the boxes.

 

Utah is a hub for those who love the outdoors, and most bring a lot of gear wherever they go. Luckily for them, the baggage claim system has been given a major upgrade. The new belts have been built wider to accommodate all of your oversized goods such as skis, snowboards, and golf clubs. This means that all of your luggage will now arrive on the same carousel. Seven miles of conveyor belts were built to transport bags across multiple checkpoints across the airport. With belts from the baggage claim to the parking garage, there’s no need to even carry or wheel your luggage.

 

Speaking of the parking garage, this one is all-new and much more advanced than you may expect. This state of the art parking garage features a camera-based sensor system that uses lighting to show the location of empty parking spots. On top of that, it doubled the old parking structures capacity with 3,600 spots. Pedestrian bridges take you from the parking lot to the terminal. Now, The flow of traffic should be much smoother. 

Picture of the new state of the art parking garage the Salt Lake City International Airport (Photo from the Salt Lake International Airport Facebook page)

 

This new airport was designed with efficiency in mind. The airport has received a gold star certification from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The certification ensures that the building was built using energy-saving, water-efficient, and CO2 emission reduction strategies. This gold level certification is one that only 9 other airports in the U.S. have achieved. 

 

Phase two of the airport reconstruction is set to be completed in 2024. 

 

Why does this matter? 

 

The redesign of the airport shows the growth and development of Salt Lake City as an up-and-coming urban area with greater influence in the world. 

 

USA Today currently ranks Utah’s economy as the best of any state. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many states have suffered from soaring unemployment rates. Utah’s unemployment rate stands at 5.1%, which is less than half of the national average. Even before the pandemic, Utah had a far stronger economy than most of the country. 

 

The strength of Utah’s economy paired with the pandemic causing surging rates of individuals working from home has groups from all over the country flocking to Utah for its unique outdoor opportunities and larger properties.

 

You can see the growth as you explore the state, with the great expansion of Utah as an international hub for business and technology. This new airport is one of the many steps that Utah is taking to ensure its place as a “go-to” destination in the future.

 

Posted on September 24, 2020 at 10:09 pm
Matthew Sidford | Category: Community | Tagged , ,

10 Tips To Stage Your Home to Sell

Staging your home is a way to get it ready to be seen by buyers to make them fall in love.  It is an easy way to increase the likelihood of your home selling quickly.  Staging is an effective method to get it closer to the standards and expectations people have about homes. 

 

First of all, What is home staging? What does home staging mean? Home staging is the process of furnishing and preparing a home for sale on the real estate market. It’s as simple as that, but the process may not be quite as simple. Here are 10 ways that you can stage your house to make it ready to sell. 

 

Deep Clean 

It should be no surprise that you need to clean your house before you try to sell it. Going through and cleaning your house from top to bottom will enhance the appearance of your home. It will send the message to the buyer that the house they are buying has been cared for and loved. 

De-Clutter 

When you declutter your home it shows how much potential space is really in the home. Cleaning out cabinets and organizing your closets will allow the buyer to see enough space for their own belongings. Creating space provides more room for buyers to imagine their own lives in the home. It will also give your home a cleaner look, having knickknacks and piled cabinets can distract the buyer from what is really there. 

 

Define Your Rooms

When you are staging your furniture, make sure each room has a purpose. By giving each room a specific function you can allow the buyer to see the full potential of the square footage your home provides. They do not have to use the room just like you did, but this allows them to imagine how they will lay it out if they do buy it.

Lighting 

When showing your home take advantage of the natural lighting you have. Make sure you open all of the blinds and curtains to really let your home shine. You should also use the lighting fixtures in your home to your advantage. If your fixtures seem outdated or are broken, replace them for a quick and cost-effective boost to your home’s appeal. 

De-personalize 

Your home is an extension of your personality in many ways. Making sure your house has character is what makes it your home, but when it comes to staging your house for sale you want to take away some of that personality. Taking down family photos and other personal belongings allows the buyer to picture the home as a blank canvas that they can make their own

Re-organize 

Re-organizing the furniture in your home can help you adjust the flow of the spaces you want to highlight. When re-organizing furniture, it is best to focus on the main living space of the house. For example, you want to create a simple and easy flow between the kitchen, living, and dining areas so buyers don’t have to navigate through a maze of furniture.

Paint 

Adding a fresh coat of paint to your house before you sell it can be a huge boost in buyer appeal. It will make the house feel much newer, even if it’s a classic Tudor built in the early 1900s. If you have wallpaper, taking it down and adding a fresh coat of neutral paint can be great. Most buyers will want to change it anyway, so doing this can let them see there is one less step to making the house their own.

Flooring 

Dirty floors are never something a buyer is dying to have when they are looking for their new home.  Doing a deep clean of areas with carpet can be a great way to remove unknown odors and stains to give these areas a refresh. While changing flooring can be expensive, it can drastically change the feeling and appearance of your home, especially from a buyer’s perspective. Adding hardwood to the living spaces of your home is appealing to a majority, and it provides a neutral base, adding to the metaphor of a new home as a blank canvas. 

Remove Signs of Pets

While you may have familiarized yourself with the scent and constant presence of your furry friends, buyers have not. Walking into a home with a strong pet odor could easily throw off potential buyers. Plus, having pet hair around can make your home seem dirty, even when it’s clean.  A deep clean will help with reducing pet odors, hair, and dander. You may also want to move pet items such as dog bowls or litter boxes into the garage prior to a showing and take your furry friends elsewhere. 

Add Decor

If you have a lot of neutral spaces in your home, go ahead and add some decor with a few splashes of color to highlight the rooms. Little spots of color around your home can really make it stand out, and it is appealing to the eye of those who will be walking through your home.

While this may seem like a lot, these home staging tips can make your life a lot easier when selling your home. With the combination of these tips and help from a trusted Windermere Real Estate Agent at your side, you can get your house ready to go to market in no time.  

 

Posted on September 4, 2020 at 8:57 pm
Matthew Sidford | Category: Selling | Tagged , , ,

Easy Ways to Improve Curb Appeal

First impressions are always a big deal, whether it’s a job interview, a first date, or even a home that you are looking to buy. The exterior of a home is the first thing that a buyer sees when looking at your home. Here are a few easy ways that you can improve your home’s curb appeal. 

 

1. Clean your Sidewalks and other hardscape areas

 

No one wants to drive up to a home that doesn’t look well maintained. One of the quickest and easiest ways to instantly improve curb appeal is to clean your hardscapes and sidewalks. 

You can accomplish this by sweeping up any branches, leaves, feathers, dog hair, and such things that have made their way onto your decks and sidewalks. You can also take a further step to scrub hardscapes with a brush, soap, and warm water–This is the best way to deal with stains. Power washing is not advised for many hardscape materials, as it can often damage pavers, but it can be useful for some decks. Be cautious when using this method. 

 

2. Power wash your exterior

 

A clean and polished exterior is necessary for your home to make the best first impression possible. 

Power washing is a quick and satisfying way to get your home exterior cleaned up, but make sure that you’re only power washing the materials on your home that cannot be seriously damaged, like any electrical elements, wood siding, old mortar, windows, etc. 

Here are some tips to use pressure washer safely

 

3. Try out a new color palette

 

If your home exterior looks like its stuck in the 1970s, your home may not make the top of the list for curb appeal. Freshen up your exterior with a fresh coat of paint. 

Here are some top classic home exterior color palette options

  • White, Grey, and Red (1122 E Harvard Ave., Salt Lake City, Utah)

  • Mocha (1973 W Gray Hawk Cir., St. George, Utah)

  • Beige and Brown (169 E Hollybrook Cv. Draper, Utah) 

 

Find more inviting color palettes here

 

4. Get your lawn healthy

 

Here are a few ways to help you get your lawn to be the healthiest lawn on the block, drawing all eyes to your curb. 

  • Aerate your lawn to help break up compacted soil. 
  • Water your lawn deeply and less often. 
  • Use natural lawn fertilizers. 
  • Cut your grass to the right height–different species of grass need different cutting heights. 

 

5. Add flowers or flower boxes

 

Flowers and flower boxes add color and visual interest to your home and when done well, give you a huge curb appeal boost.

Keep things colorful and eye-catching, and vary the heights of your plants. If you are using flower boxes, keep the theory of “thrillers” (tall, statement plants and flowers), “spillers” (plants that spill over the edge of flower boxes or pots if that is more your style), and “fillers” (surface area plants that fill in the gaps). 

 

6. Plant Trees

 

With a similar theory to adding flowers, trees add additional landscaping elements to your curb appeal, and add shaded areas perfect for relaxing on a hot summer day. 

 

7. Add outdoor lighting

 

One of the best ways to make sure you have some serious curb appeal is to make sure your home can be seen no matter the time of the day! Make sure you have some porch lights and light your walkway with some simple solar light fixtures, which are affordable and easy to install. 

 

8. Upgrade your mailbox

 

Even the most appealing houses can be brought down by a dingy mailbox. Make sure yours doesn’t have any signs of rust or damage. 

 

9. Coordinate your hardware

 

Small details can make a huge impact. Even if your potential buyers don’t notice explicitly, matching hardware will give your home a nice, well-put-together appearance. 

Match your metals for your doorknobs, locksets, porch lights and address numbers. If you don’t have address numbers, get them! Make sure that your numbers are easy to see and make a serious decor statement. 

 

10. Add outdoor furniture to your front porch

 

If you are lucky enough to have a front porch, make sure that it is inviting and appears just as livable as the inside for maximum effect. 

Keep to a simple bench and throw pillow for small porches, or if you have a larger porch, add a dining set, or an outdoor couch and coffee table to complete the look.

 

No matter how you choose to improve your home’s exterior, keep in mind that the best way to improve curb appeal is to make it as attractive as can be. Take a careful look around to determine what improvements you believe need to be made, and ask your local Windermere Real Estate agent for their expertise on the kinds of improvements that are getting homes sold faster in your area. 

 

At Windermere Utah, we are proud to keep you up-to-date on the latest news, events, and listings. Be sure to keep checking back in here at the blog, and don’t forget to follow us on social media.

 

Posted on August 12, 2020 at 3:50 pm
Matthew Sidford | Category: Living | Tagged ,

The Gardner Report – Park City – 2020 Second Quarter

The following analysis of select neighborhoods in the Park City real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you in making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent. 

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

COVID-19 had a significant impact on employment in Utah, causing the loss of more than 144,000 jobs in March and April and raising the state’s unemployment rate to 10.4%. For comparison, peak unemployment following the Great Recession was only 8%.

That said, it appears as if Utah’s massive contraction in employment is behind us (at least for now). Employment in the state rose by 40,400 jobs in May, an increase of 2.8% in just one month, allowing the unemployment rate to drop to 8.5%.

Although it is certainly too early to say that we are out of the woods, we seem to be headed in a positive direction. That said, COVID-19 infection rates in Utah started increasing in June and may slow the economic recovery if the direction is not reversed. Regardless, I do not believe that it is likely to have a significant impact on the housing market.

 

HOME SALES

❱ In the second quarter of 2020, 131 homes sold in the Park City area, a drop of 37.3% from the second quarter of 2019, and down 22.9% from the first quarter of this year.

❱ Home sales were a mixed bag, with increases in 4 neighborhoods but declines in 14. The areas that saw sales activity increase are all very small.

❱ The drop in sales came as inventory levels rose more than 300%. The most likely explanation is that concerns over COVID-19 outweighed the additional choice of available homes.

❱ Pending home sales were 15.6% lower than a year ago, but only 3.1% lower than in the first quarter. This makes me hopeful that the market will start to stabilize as we move through the balance of the year.

 

 

HOME PRICES

❱ The average home price in the Park City neighborhoods contained in this report rose 1.9% year-over-year to $1.159 million. Sale prices were 0.6% higher than in the first quarter of 2020.

❱ The most affordable neighborhoods in terms of average sale prices were Kimball, Heber North & East, Wanship, Hoytsville, Coalville, and Rockport. The most expensive were Upper Deer Valley Resort & Empire Pass, Promontory, and Thaynes Canyon.

❱ Prices rose in a majority of neighborhoods, with significant gains in the Promontory, Thaynes Canyon, Jeremy Ranch, and Lower Deer Valley Resort & Deer Crest neighborhoods. Annual sale prices dropped in seven markets, with the Canyons Village area experiencing the steepest decline.

❱ The Park City market is relatively small, but with some very expensive real estate. It will be interesting to see if COVID-19-related impacts persist or if we start to see a return to normal activity.

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

❱ The average time it took to sell a home in the Park City area rose three days compared to the second quarter of 2019.

❱ The amount of time it took to sell a home dropped in nine market areas and rose in nine compared to a year ago.

❱ In the second quarter of this year, it took an average of 101 days to sell a home. Homes sold fastest in Summit Park and slowest in the Canyons Village neighborhood.

❱ The greatest drop in market time was in the Tuhaye/Hideout neighborhood, where it took 91 fewer days to sell a home than during the same period a year ago.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

Clearly, the Park City housing market was still reacting to the influences of COVID-19 during the second quarter. I see demand, but the pandemic is still making the direction of housing uncertain. That said, I remain hopeful that we will start to get some clarity as we move through the balance of the year. Assuming the state gets new infection rates back under control, I can see the market start to perform at its potential in the second half of the year. As such, I am leaving the needle in the same position as last quarter.

 

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.

 

Originally posted in Park City Real Estate Market Update by Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, Windermere Real Estate

Posted on August 3, 2020 at 6:07 pm
Matthew Sidford | Category: Market Trends, Park City | Tagged , ,

What is Pioneer Day?

For new Utahns, there is one day of the year that may be a bit confusing and overwhelming because people take to the streets and everything else shuts down with no explanation. That day is coming up soon. It’s July 24th, better known as “Pioneer Day.” The day is full of celebrations that are deep-seated in Utah’s culture.

The date commemorates the day that Brigham Young first stepped into the Salt Lake Valley and told his fellow LDS pioneers that “This is the place.” Although the day has roots in the history of the Latter-day Saints, it is a celebration of all pioneers who settled in Utah. 

 

History

 

Pioneer Day marks July 24, 1847, which is when the first settlers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. The day was first celebrated in 1849 with a commemoration concert by the Nauvoo Brass Band as they marched down Main Street in Salt Lake City. 

Throughout the 19th century, celebrations of the day as a day of Independence and thanksgiving began. Celebrations included parades, devotionals, sporting events, feasts, dances, and reunions–all of which are celebrations similar to those hosted to this day. Some years celebrations were cut short by the entry of federal troops or were celebrated funeral-style for those pioneers who were imprisoned or lost along the way. 

These celebrations did not become consistent until the 20th century when Pioneer Day was recognized as a state holiday. Since then, Pioneer day has become a secular holiday to celebrate all groups who migrated to Utah during the pioneering era with overarching themes of frontier life, and homeland. 

 

How to Celebrate

 

Typical celebrations include the Days of ‘47 Parade (and float preview party), the Native American Celebration, Powwow, and Festival, The Days of ‘47 Rodeo, The Deseret News Marathon, etc. All of these events create an atmosphere of community and camaraderie. 

The day almost always ends with huge fireworks shows throughout the state, with shows of similar, or larger scale than those seen on the 4th of July. 

A large counter-culture movement has established “Pie and Beer” Day, a wordplay on “pioneer” for those who are primarily outside of the LDS faith and culture. Participants celebrate with either homemade or locally made pies paired with local craft beers. There are several versions of this celebration hosted throughout the state. 

This year, celebrations may look a bit different. We won’t have big celebrations as usual, but we will still celebrate. Here are a few ideas for how to celebrate Pioneer Day from home:

 

Read Stories about Pioneer Life

There are plenty of historical and fictional accounts of pioneer life. Consider a few of these for some ideas on where to start:

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder 

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

Nearly Everything Imaginable: The Everyday Life of Utah’s Mormon Pioneers by Ronald W. Walker

I Walked to Zion: True Stories of Young Pioneers on the Mormon Trail by Susan Arrington Madsen

 

Make Homemade Butter

Get back to the basics by making butter, just as the pioneers would have. Here’s an easy recipe

 

Make a Sweet Snack

Help your kids (or yourself, we don’t judge) make a tasty treat that is also educational by making a covered wagon complete with Teddy Graham driver. Check it out here.

 

Take a Hike

Hikes are a great way to get outdoors and experience the pioneer lifestyle. While things are a bit different now, that effort that you will put into taking a hike in the mountains is just the same as it was back in 1847. 

For an extra pioneer day twist, hike Emigration Canyon as that is the route the pioneers took into the valley, or Ensign peak, where Brigham Young and other leaders climbed up the mountain to survey the valley and plan the layout of Salt Lake City. 

 

Make a Candle

Pioneer life consisted of making a lot of things by hand. So get crafting and make a beeswax candle of your very own. Here’s a tutorial

 

Play a few Pioneer Games

Pioneers were even more active than we are today, even the kids. Here are a few ideas for pioneer-era games that you and your family can play, like Three-Legged races, hoop rolling, hopscotch, kick the can, etc. 

Pioneer day is about celebrating Utah and whatever you love most about living in this state, whether it be the history, the mountains, family, or something different entirely. It is a day for celebrating Utah’s uniqueness in whatever way you see best. It’s a celebration of why each of us here in Utah wakes up in the morning and says “This is the Place.” 

Posted on July 13, 2020 at 9:32 pm
Matthew Sidford | Category: Community | Tagged , ,

Best Summer Outdoor Activities in Utah

One of the best things about Utah is the exceptional access to outdoor recreation. Many of us have hiking and biking trails right outside our doors (or within a 30 minute drive of our house). 

Here are a few of our favorite activities that you can do solo or bring along some family and friends! There are so many more as well, so don’t hesitate to reach out to your neighbors, or real estate agent to discuss some of their favorite summer activities as well. 

 

Hiking

 

Utah is full of plentiful hiking spots. There are trails all around the state spanning from the Logan area all the way down to St. George and Kanab. 

Here are a few favorite hikes from around the state:

Delicate Arch Trail – Arches National Park (Moab)

A hike to one of Utah’s most recognizable landmarks is on the bucket list for any Utah local, and for many visitors. It can be scorching hot in summer, but it is a wonderful sight once you arrive at the arch. 

Mount Timpanogos – American Fork Canyon (American Fork)

There are two trails that lead to Mount Timpanogos, and the peak is the second tallest in the state. If you have time, check out Timpanogos cave while you are there. 

Donut Falls Trail – Big Cottonwood Canyon (Salt Lake City)

Donut falls is a great trail for families. The trail is wide with only a slight elevation gain, making the trail perfect for all ages. This trail is particularly beautiful in mid-July and August when the wildflowers are blooming. 

Mount Olympus Trail – Mount Olympus (Holladay)

This trail is more challenging than most of the others on this list due to the steep incline of the trail. Once you make it to the top, you can easily see why this is one of the most rewarding hikes in the Salt Lake valley as you are rewarded with absolutely stunning views. 

Adam’s Canyon Trail – Adam’s Canyon (Layton)

Adam’s canyon brings you to a 40 ft. Tall waterfall at the end of the trail with a small pond. It is perfect for a view of the city, and a great place to take n some of the views around Holms Creek. 

Armstrong Trail – Silver Star (Park City)

This trail is a perfect option as the distance of the hike can vary based on the route you take. The trail is a great option for hot summer days as it has lots of tree cover and provides great views of Park City. 

Iron Mountain Trail – Iron Canyon (Park City)

Iron Mountain is a local favorite. It’s a relatively short hike, perfect for an after-work hike to clear your mind. While it is a short out and back trail, the elevation will give you a workout. The trail leads through gorgeous aspen groves, and at the top you will get a fabulous view of downtown Park City and several of the ski resorts. 

 

Biking

 

Biking is another extremely popular outdoor activity in Utah. There are plentiful trails for mountain and on-road biking throughout the state. While the state is mostly known for mountain biking there is a strong road cycling culture. Just take a look to UCI-sanctioned pro cycling event the Tour of Utah

Here are a few top choices for whichever option you prefer. As Utah is quite mountainous, this is far from being an extensive list. 

 

Road Biking

Parowan Gap Loop – Cedar City

This is a natural mountain pass that was used by the Fremont and Anasazi Native Americans. The route is dotted with petroglyphs and leads through some classic desert landscapes. 

Utah Lake – Provo/Orem

Part of this route makes up Stage 3 of the Tour of Utah, following the western shores of Utah Lake. This lake is a popular destination for locals in Utah County. 

Emigration Canyon – Salt Lake City

This a very popular local ride. You ride from Salt Lake City up to a national historic landmark and back out to Salt Lake City. The route through the canyon was used by pioneers traveling into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. 

Empire/Guardsman Loop – Park City

While this ride is a heart-pumping ride through steep uphill climbs, you are rewarded with some stunning views overlooking Deer Valley Resort and the canyons. 

 

Mountain Biking 

Wasatch Crest Trail – Salt Lake City

This is a singletrack snaking along the top of the Wasatch Mountain Range brings you through aspen glades and alpine meadows. There are many options to riding this trail, with point-to-point access from Guardsman Pass to Millcreek Canyon or Big Cottonwood Canyon. 

Thunder Mountain Trail – Panguitch

Just outside of Bryce Canyon National Park, the Thunder Mountain trail provides a challenging ride through the stunning landscapes around Red Canyon. 

Mid Mountain Trail – Park City

Mid mountain is designated as an IMBA Epic Ride. This trail covers 22 miles and 2 ski areas in the Park City areas. There are several options for accessing the trail, and once you’re there you make your way through dense patches of pine and aspen trees before racing meadows filled with wildflowers. 

 

Swimming

 

Swimming is a great way to cool down on one of Utah’s hot summer days. There are plentiful swimming pools that you could enjoy, or splash pads, if you aren’t one for dipping into a pool. You could stop there, but why would you want to?

Many of Utah’s mountain lakes are watersheds that don’t allow swimming, but there are several that allow swimming and other watersports. Here are a few of the lakes, reservoirs, and natura swimming spots: 

Lake Powell – Glen Canyon Recreational Area

While Lake Powell isn’t technically a lake, it is a go-to for Utah locals and tourists alike. With stunning views created by the location in the middle of Glen Canyon, Lake Powell is a great destination for swimming, houseboating, wakeboarding, fishing, kayaking, and many other water-based activities. 

Lower Calf Creek Falls – Boulder

Just a short distance from the small town of Boulder, the lower falls are 130 feet high with a deep swimming hole. It takes a bit of a hike to get there, but the pool is always nice and cool. 

Pineview Reservoir – Huntsville

Just 2 miles north of Huntsville, this is the summer lake you have always dreamed of. Calm waters are perfect for any of your water-based activity needs. There are both paid and free areas, as well as some great sandy beaches to relax in between your swimming sessions. 

Jordanelle Reservoir – Park City/Heber City 

Another of Utah’s picturesque reservoirs, this reservoir allows swimming and boating in the mountainous areas between park city and Heber. 

 

Zip Lining

 

If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, Zip Lining may be the option for you, bringing our aerial adventures to life. There are a few locations throughout the state where you can jump on a zip line. 

ZipRider – Snowbird Resort (Near Sandy)

The ZipRider at Snowbird Resort allows you to see the beauty of the canyon in a different way as you climb to the top of the 50 foot tower then fly down the zip-line cables at 30 mph. 

Zipline Utah – Heber City 

Zipline Utah features a few options for traveling through the sky on a series of zip-lines and aerial bridges. Don’t forget to book an adventure down the Screaming Falcon, Zipline Utah’s longest and fastest zip line, spanning over 3900 feet and reaching speeds of 60+ mph. 

Zip Line Tour at Utah Olympic Park – Park City

Featuring the option between two ziplines, the Utah Olympic Park allows you to see some of the most spectacular views of the Olympic Park. You can take a more leisurely ride, or step it up a notch with one of the steepest ziplines in the world to emulate the speed and force of a world-class ski jumper. 

Raven’s Rim – Moab

Raven’s Rim offers several zipline tours and aerial bridges perfect for any adventure lover. These tours offer exclusive views of the high-deserts of southern Utah. 

 

Paddle Boarding

 

Stand-Up paddle boarding (SUP)  is becoming a highly popular activity in Utah. Here are a few of the best places to get started on your SUPer adventure (get it?). 

Great Salt Lake – Salt Lake City

The Great Salt Lake is not a highly trafficked paddle boarding area, but it is one of the most recognizable parts of Utah as a whole. Grab your board and head out to Antelope Island to get on the lake, and enjoy the nature and the buoyancy caused by the salt water. 

Oquirrh Lake – Daybreak

Paddleboarding is perfect on Oquirrh lake because of the calm and cool water. It is ideal if you live in the area, and you get fabulous views of both the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains, making it the perfect location for a sunrise or sunset session. 

Jordanelle Reservoir – Park City/Heber City

Jordanelle Reservoir is also a perfect paddleboarding location due to it’s calm waters and gorgeous scenery. If you’re an experienced paddleboarder you can leave the no-wake zone and take advantage of some of the waves that boats and other watercraft leave behind. 

Utah Lake – Provo/Orem 

As Utah’s largest freshwater lake, Utah Lake attracts many visitors. It has many amenities close by, and is a fabulous family destination. 

Sand Hollow State Park – Hurricane

Utah’s newest state park is highly trafficked, but is an easy 15 minutes from St. George. The warm blue water and red sandstone make for an extremely picturesque experience. 

 

Visit a National Park 

 

Utah is home to many Nature Preserves, National Forests, and State parks, but to get the full Utah experience, you really need to visit one of Utah’s 5 national parks. They all feature magnificent red sandstone canyons and rock formations that make for a perfect photo-finish for any adventurer. 

Arches – Moab

Arches National Park is full of iconic arches with over 2,000 natural stone arches to explore,  like Delicate Arch-Utahns love that one so much that we put it on the license plate! 

Bryce Canyon – Bryce

With many canyons, amphitheaters and bowls carved into the landscape, you can marvel at the beauty from a high plateau or hike deep into the canyon floors. 

Canyonlands – Moab

Featuring countless canyons and buttes, you can see four districts divided by the Colorado and Green Rivers.  

Capitol Reef – Torrey

In the heart of red rock country, this hidden treasure includes cliffs, canyons, dome, bridges and the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline that extends almost 100 miles. 

Zion – Springdale

Explore the paths that Native Americans called home and where pioneers traveled to settle the west. 

 

Posted on June 8, 2020 at 4:09 pm
Matthew Sidford | Category: Living | Tagged , , ,

The Gardner Report – Park City – 2020 First Quarter

We are excited to introduce the Gardner Report to Park City, Utah! The following analysis of select neighborhoods in the Park City real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent. 

 

A MESSAGE FROM MATTHEW GARDNER

Needless to say, any discussion about the U.S. economy, state economy, or housing markets in the first quarter of this year is almost meaningless given events surrounding the COVID-19 virus.

Although you will see below data regarding housing activity in the region, many markets came close to halting transactions in March and many remain in some level of paralysis. As such, drawing conclusions from the data is almost a futile effort. I would say, though, it is my belief that the national and state housing markets were in good shape before the virus hit and will be in good shape again, once we come out on the other side. In a similar fashion, I anticipate the national and regional economies will start to thaw, and that many of the jobs lost will return with relative speed. Of course, all of these statements are wholly dependent on the country seeing a peak in new infections in the relatively near future. I stand by my contention that the housing market will survive the current economic crisis and it is likely we will resume a more normalized pattern of home sales in the second half of the year.

 

HOME SALES
  • In the first quarter of 2020, 170 homes sold, an increase of 18.9% over the first quarter of 2019.
  • Sales were a mixed bag, with increases in eight neighborhoods, sales static in three, and dropping in seven. There was double-digit growth in sales in several areas. However, as the market areas in this report are all relatively small, significant swings in either direction are not unexpected.
  • The growth in sales came as inventory levels fell by a very significant 70% from a year ago. This can likely be attributed to COVID-19. Second quarter data will confirm or refute this thesis.
  • Pending home sales dropped 40% compared to the first quarter of 2019. Again, this is likely due to COVID-19.

 

 

HOME PRICES
  • The average home price in the Park City neighborhoods contained in this report dropped 2.1% year-over-year to $1.152 million.
  • The most affordable neighborhoods — in terms of average sale prices — were Kimball and Kamas & Marion. The most expensive were Lower Deer Resort & Deer Crest, Promontory, and Upper Deer Resort & Empire Pass.
  • Although aggregate prices went down, prices still rose in a majority of the neighborhoods that this report analyzes. The Summit Park area had significant gains, and an additional eight areas had double-digit increases. On an annual basis, prices dropped in four markets, with the Upper Deer Valley area seeing the biggest declines.
  • As this is the first Park City Gardner Report, commentary is limited. It will be interesting to see how the market further reacts to COVID-19 and we look forward to offering analysis and perspective when we get second quarter data.

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET
  • The average time it took to sell a home in the Park City area dropped 42 days compared to the first quarter of 2019.
  • The amount of time it took to sell a home dropped in 13 market areas and rose in 5.
  • In the first quarter, it took an average of 99 days to sell a home, with homes selling fastest in Thaynes Canyon and slowest in the Promontory neighborhood.
  • The greatest drop in market time was in the Thaynes Canyon and Heber North & East neighborhoods.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

Given the current economic environment, I have decided to freeze the needle in place until we see a restart in the economy. Once we have resumed “normal” economic activity, there will be a period of adjustment with regard to housing. Therefore, it is appropriate to wait until later in the year to offer my opinions about any quantitative impact the pandemic will have on the housing market.

 

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures

Posted on May 1, 2020 at 6:34 pm
Matthew Sidford | Category: Market Trends | Tagged , , , ,

Summer Home Maintenance: A Guide

We know it can be difficult to know when to do all of those home maintenance tasks. With summer at our heels her in Utah, here is a guide to the top home maintenance tasks to complete in summer.

  • Inspect Air Conditioners – You know how hot it can get here in Utah. Perks of living in the desert, huh? Clean air conditioning filters in window units, dust off those ceiling fans, and consider a tuneup if you have central A/C.
  • Check Detectors – Every few months, check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working properly and have batteries.
  • Clean your Vents – Spring brings in allergy season, which can be rough. It can bring all of that pollen into your vents, along with the usual buildup of dust and grime. Get in there to make sure you’re getting fresh air. Don’t forget the dryer vent and exhaust duct. the lint trapped in there can be a fire hazard if not properly maintained.
  • Clean the Gutters – It may not be glamorous, but it needs done. If you didn’t do this one on your spring checklist, it’s time to do it now. Clean out any leaf buildup and standing water. In the short term, these attract mosquitos and other pests. In the long term, they can damage your gutters and pull the whole system away from your house.
  • Prep Water Systems – However you plan to water, figure it out and get your systems set up.
    • Check Hose and Faucets – A good starting point is to check hoses and exterior faucets for any leaks. Pinhole leaks in hoses can be repaired with electrical tape.
    • Plan Your Watering Schedule – Train your garden and lawn to endure dry days by watering deeply a few times per week to promote the growth of deep, strong roots.
    • Test Sprinkler Systems – If you have a sprinkler system, check to make sure all of the heads are in good shape and test before you plan to water to make sure there are no leaks in the underground system.
  • Check Your Deck – Examine your deck for signs of rotting and fix any nails that are pulling up, and check if you need to re-seal your deck by sprinkling water on the boards. If the water beads up, you’re fine. If it soaks right in, it’s time for a seal.
  • Analyze your Roof – Utah’s ever-changing weather can be hard on your home’s head. Get up on your roof (or have someone do it for you) to check for missing and loose shingles, mold, and anything else that looks unusual. It’s better to do small repairs every summer than have to replace the whole roof.
  • Spruce up the Siding – Peeling paint and chipped siding can allow all of those summertime bugs to get into your house. Walk around your house and look for any problem areas. If you clean up, paint and repair issues now, you can avoid bigger projects in the future.
  • Porch Polishing – Sweep porch floors and mop floorboards with all purpose cleaner.
  • Wash Windows – If you didn’t do it with your spring checklist, it’s time to do it now. Get your Windex ready.
  • Landscaping – Add a layer of mulch to keep weeds down and help the ground retain it’s moisture and deadhead your annuals and perennials.
  • Clean Your Grills – Everyone loves a good backyard BBQ. Make sure you’re ready by cleaning your grill before you need to use it.
    • Gas Grills – Turn your heat up to high and let the grill cook with the lid closed for 30 min. Allow the grill to cool, then brush off with a grill brush.  Don’t forget to clean out the drip pans.
    • Charcoal Grills – Empty the grill completely and wipe off any residue. Clean inside and out with hot water and liquid dish soap and leave to air-dry completely.
  • Keep the Dirt Away – Make sure to put out a doormat at all doors to make sure all that muck stays outside where it belongs.

 

Do you have any cleaning or maintenance tips that are prefect for summer? Share them with us in the comments below!

 

At Windermere Utah, we are proud to keep you up-to-date on the latest news, events, and listings. Be sure to keep checking back in here at the blog, and don’t forget to follow us on social media. 

 

Posted on April 30, 2020 at 10:52 pm
Matthew Sidford | Category: Living | Tagged , , , ,