Real-estate sale numbers that are reported during the first quarter of the year are typically skewed, says Jeff Spencer, Park City Board of Realtors President. Reporting high numbers is typical and sometimes misleading for what may develop during the rest of the year, but the statistics reported in the first quarter of 2013 by the organization should keep the momentum going.
"This is the best first quarter we have seen since 2007," Spencer said. "Our sales are probably going to go down throughout the year because the (real-estate) inventory in the area is low. But, the lack of inventory also causes properties to go quickly when placed on the market. This should be an exciting year."
With 402 properties closed already this year, the sales dollar volume is up 28 percent over the same time-period last year, climbing from $239 million in Q1 of 2012, to over $306 million for Q1 of 2013.
The current inventory of active listings in the greater Park City area is lower than it has been since 2006, according to a press release from the board. As of April 1, there has been a 21 percent decrease in listings since that date in 2012. The current number of listings is down 47 percent since the high mark in the housing industry during July, 2008.
According to Spencer, buyer activity is being fueled by the amount of properties available and is also having an effect on market prices.
"With the lack of inventory available, resulting in strong competition for certain properties, especially single-family homes under $500,000, may be the hardest to find," Spencer said. "With prices going up in the area, and not a lot of new development coming in, buyers need to be on their toes."
The number of sales for single-family homes in all areas in Q1 increased 18 percent compared to Q1 of 2012, and the median sales price rose 30 percent to $619,500. While the median price for single family homes in the Snyderville Basin and Jordanelle area was up 28 percent, reaching $634,500 from Q1 of last year, though down slightly from the year-end 2012 figure of $649,000. The median price of a home within the Park City limits for the first quarter was $1,312,500, up 12 percent from the first quarter of 2012 and up 22 percent from the year-end 2012 figure.
"The buyer in today's market has 43 percent more purchasing power than they did in 2006, a key aspect in why property is moving so fast right now," Spencer said. "It may be harder to qualify for home loans than it was in the past, but those who do qualify will have the ability to borrow more money with lower interest rates."
The limited inventory is increasing the pressure on price. In some market segments, the absorption rate for a new listing is as low as 1.8 months on the market, while in others it is 144 months.
Shares of condominiums county wide on the other hand, decreased three percent from Q1 of 2012. The number of sales inside the city limits was similar to other statistics reported in the area, growing 21 percent.
The median sale price of condominiums within the Park City limits was $639,000, which is down 18 percent from the first quarter of 2012 – though well above the 2012 year-end figure of $522,500.
Vacant land sales also increased in the first quarter of 2013 45 percent with 74 transactions compared to 51 transactions in 2012. Lot sales increased in both the city limits, up six sales (75 percent), and in the Snyderville Basin and Jordanelle areas, up 19 sales (73 percent).
"People at one time could buy a property for less than it would cost to build it," Spencer said. "The market has become strong enough that people are thinking they can afford to go build a new home, and the chances of selling it in the future are high. Buyers are leaning towards newer rather than older now, causing more development on empty lots."
The median price for a vacant lot, for all areas in Summit County, fell nine percent in the Q1 of 2013, dropping to $182,150 from $200,000 in 2012.
Lot prices within the city limits climbed 10 percent from $468,00 in 2012 to $514,500 in 2013.
Median lot prices in the Snyderville Basin and Jordanelle areas dropped from $237,000 in 2012 to $180,000 in 2013, a 24 percent decrease.
"There are still specific areas within our market that are slower to respond to price increase and demand. So, opportunity still exists for good buys," Spencer said. "That's why it's important to contact your local Realtor and see what the market is doing in your neighborhood."