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 , , , ,

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 , , ,