The housing market in Park City is somewhere between a buyer's and seller's market as home prices and sales continued to find the middle ground in the third quarter of 2012. The total number of property sales was up for 4 percent and total revenue was up 3 percent compared to last year, according to numbers provided by the Park City Board of Realtors.
Median property prices, which include homes, condos and lots, are on the rise, up 11 percent from the year before,
"It's a slow but steady improvement," said Mark Seltenrich, the Park City Board of Realtors Statistician. " The biggest trend is that the really cheap properties, the low-priced condos or low-priced lots, are not there anymore. There aren't as many on the market as last year.
"If you're looking for a condo in a $200,000-range, you are going to have a hard time finding one. And that's because we're moving toward a balanced market."
Seltenrich said the current local trends are on par with national housing market trends, that the local area is recovering with the rest of the nation and neither artificially inflated home prices or bottom-dollar deals are out there.
Vacant land sales, a major piece of the market last year due to bottoming market prices, have increased significantly in median price since last year, up 19 percent. Between the first and third quarters last year, a total of 207 vacant lots were sold, including several in the Promontory area. This year for the same time period, the Park City Board of Realtors recorded 212 sales, and Seltenrich said he expects vacant land prices to continue to rise.
The number of home sales was up 5 percent, selling 32 homes more homes. Condo sales were up even more at 7 percent, selling 451 homes this year compared to 420 over the same time the year before.
Curt Singleton, the Executive Director of the organization, said the numbers gave him a reason to be optimistic.
"I think the numbers are promising, and show that the market is improving," Singleton said. " Outside of the statistics, it appears to me that the general feeling is that our market is on the rebound and we're seeing that in additional members joining the association. More people are getting back into real estate."
"I still think there's room for caution, but the rise in sales and home prices is promising," he added, "but nothing is concrete at this point."
The second highest disclosed home sale in Park City history, an $11M property in Deer Crest, was sold shortly after Sept. 1 when the third quarter ended, so even though the property was not reflected in the most recent housing market statistics, Seltenrich said home sales of that magnitude show market strength.
Distressed properties were also down in the third quarter, accounting for only 14 percent of the market. Last year during the third quarter, distressed sales made up 27 percent of sales, a total of 80 property sales.
While basement prices in the market may be gone, Seltenrich said there are still well-priced properties out there, so even if a condo for $200,000 is gone, the price increase to $250,00 is still a well-priced property.
"Historically, you're still doing pretty well," he said. "Buyers have to shift their thinking and realize that $250,000 is still a good price for the area."
"I think its somewhere in between a buyer's and seller's market, and we've surpassed the best days for a buyer's market," Singleton said, "but the market is still ripe for buyers even if it's not quite what it used to be. The glory days of being a buyer, while still good deals to be had, not quite what it was before, and that shows an overall strengthening of the market."
2012 Sales and Median Prices by Neighborhood: