Quarterly report confirms real estate down | ParkRecord.com

Quarterly report confirms real estate down

by Andrew Kirk, OF THE RECORD STAFF

The Park City Board of Realtors released its autumn quarterly report last week confirming that sales and home prices are down.

Tyler Richardson, PCBOR president, remains confident that Park City will weather the financial storm, and emphasized that the decline in prices is far less than in comparable areas.

"The coordinated effort of not only our government, but some of the finest minds in the world will bring back more stability in our market," he said.

In a report summary, Richardson said Park City’s proximity to the airport will continue to guarantee the community’s success, and that "people who are buying in today’s market are motivated by lifestyle choices and long-term investments."

He also echoed others in the industry in saying that today real estate is a buyer’s market and sellers should price accordingly.

The report ends with a reminder that Utah continues to have one of the lowest foreclosure rates in the nation at 1.23 percent in the second quarter.

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RealtyTrac.com, a foreclosure listing service, included Wasatch as among the three highest counties for foreclosure per housing unit in the state. It included Summit among 12 counties with medium to high rates of foreclosure.

In July, 22 homes were listed as "bank-owned" on the West Side of Summit County. Now there are 42.

Richardson doesn’t use RealtyTrac for information and doesn’t agree with how it classifies homes. He said he frequently finds its numbers to be inflated. He does agree the rate appears to have worsened in Wasatch, but remains optimistic for the entire area.

Has the sales and price decline bottomed out? He said no one has a crystal ball for that, but there are still good buys and buyers here. Many are just sitting on the fence waiting for things to shake out.

He predicted a new administration will calm many fears and result in a short-term ease in tension.

Ron Field, president of Mountain Express Mortgage, agreed the situation in Utah is preferable to much of the nation, but fears Sen. John McCain’s mortgage rescue plan would make things worse.

McCain’s plan would renegotiate mortgages between owners and lenders to decrease them. Sen. Barack Obama’s plan would merely renegotiate the terms, he said.

McCain’s plan would lower the value of the mortgage, thereby lowering estimated home values in the neighborhood. If the market recovers, which it usually does, he said, because it’s cyclical, then the rescued homeowner would instantly have more equity than his or her neighbors.

Fairness and manipulation of the market aside, Field fears a McCain White House would depreciate home prices.

Barbara Zimonja, president of Premier Resorts International, weighed in on the financial crisis’ effect on the tourism industry and said her company is budgeting for this year to be down 15 to 20 percent.

She said she doesn’t believe any new leader will be able to make drastic changes in the economy any time soon, and that this is not a problem that will be solved with an election.

She also believes effective marketing can do wonders and encourages Park City resorts to continue focusing on their target customers and to place trust in their marketing directors.

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