November 28, 2007

Interest Rates Still Low And Getting Lower?


My office had sales meeting yesterday.  We, at one point discussed the current interest rates.  We had received information on November 26 that the current interest rates were 6.125%  for a 30 year conventional loan, 6.0% for FHA, 5.75% for a 15 year conventional loan.  That is great news. 

 As we began our discussion, our “in-house” lender, Gaylon Ashby, informed us that he had just received news that the current rate had reached 5. 875%.  That is amazing.  

During the first quarter of 2007, there were only 3618 active listings in Utah County.  The fourth quarter of 2006 ended with 2657.  The average number of active listings since the first quarter of 2006 is 3224.    There are currently 4477 active listings on the MLS in Utah County right now.   There are a lot of homes to choose from.  Because of the large numbers of available homes for sale, sellers need to be more competitive with their prices and/or terms.   This is a great time to buy a home with interest rates at the lowest they have been for a while and a great inventory to choose from.   

There are currently 851 homes for sale under $200,000.  I have several first-time home buyers right now and they are all frustrated with the inventory because this price range includes very old homes, mobile homes, and condos.  From $200,000-300,000, there are 1558 active listings so you can see how the numbers point to a need for homes in the $200,000 price range. 

If you own one of these homes and you have been considering selling, this may be a good time for you to “move up.”  You will most likely sell your home quickly, buy a nicer, larger home (there are many to choose from) and end up with a mortgage interest rate that is lower than the one on your current home making it more affordable than  you think.  

Give me a call and I can do a Comparable Price Analysis for you to see if this is something you should consider.  It will cost you nothing and you will have the information you need to make an informed decision as to whether this really is the best time for you to make that move up to that bigger home.   

Filed under: Real Estate — Susan @ 9:43 am

November 26, 2007

A Footnote To “The Definition of Market Value”

The definition of “Market Value” is described as, “what a buyer is willing to pay”.  I have had some issues with this definition on most of the houses I have sold the last 2 years.  Up until about August of 2007, it would be safe to say that Utah County was experiencing a “Seller’s Market,” which means that there were more buyers than sellers.   This gives the seller more options as it is typical to receive more than one offer in a short amount of time.  It is during this type of market, that prices are driven up and appreciation rates go a little crazy. 

During this sellers market, I would research the MLS and get the latest figures on homes sold to determine a suggested price for a potential seller/client.   I also would take into consideration, my professional experience.  If I were listing a new home that was similar to one that I had just sold, it would safe to make a determination that if we had 4 offers within 3 days at XX price, then the price for the newest listing should be a little higher because, obviously, buyers are willing to pay that price. 

The problem is that with every home I sold, every home that had several offers within days of listing, homes that had several offers that met our asking price or came in higher than our asking price,   I ended up doing battle with the appraisals.  As a REALTOR®, I am the one out in the front lines.  I am working wth the buyers and the sellers.  I am having the buyers call and desparately asking me to help them find a home and I am the one they tell what they are willing to pay for that home.  It was during this time that I realized that the true definition of market value is not always, ”What a buyer is willing to pay,” but possibly, “what the lenders are willing to loan” on a given home. 

Appreciation was on the rise at a pace that was hard to keep up with.  While I had the most current buyers telling me daily what they were willing to pay, the MLS statistics were, logically, 4-6 weeks behind.  When a home is first listed, it is listed as ”active.”  When it gets an accepted offer, it becomes listed as “under contract.”  When it closes, it finally changes on the MLS to “sold” status.  It is only then that that home can be used as a comparable for an appraisal.  Since it takes approx. 4-6 weeks to get through escrow, the MLS statistics were behind.  It was frustrating to constantly have issues coming up with the lenders because it was hard to find the comparables at the current price which was on the rise almost daily due to the bidding wars of the many buyers. 

The bottom line is that a lender will not loan money on a home unless the data can support the price.  It did not matter that there were 3-5 buyers willing to pay the asking price or more.  If the appraisal did not support that price, it was an uphill fight to get to closing. 

Filed under: Real Estate — Susan @ 11:26 am

November 23, 2007

Market Value


 I like to read the latest articles about the local real estate market whenever I can.  I especially like to read the comments that the public can submit to each article.  Sometimes it is good to see what the public is thinking and sometimes it is frustrating that there are so many misconceptions about real estate.  Especially, I have noticed that there seem to be a lot of people that think that REALTORs® set the prices at which homes will sell for.  I want to clarify the definition of “market value.”  Market value is “what a buyer is willing to pay.”   

When sellers call and ask me to list their homes, I start a thorough search of the  MLS, the Multiple Listing Service.  I prepare a CMA which is a Comparable Market Analysis.  This CMA is a report based on information provided by the MLS which a database of all the information on the real estate market since about 1994-95.  Every home that has been listed since that time is on there with all it’s information like square footage, number of bathrooms, number of bedrooms, age of the home, the address, what kind of roof, how many cars will fit in the garage, etc, etc, etc. 

When I do a CMA for a new listing, I research all the homes that sold in the same area as the new listing during the last 6 months.  I determine which homes are most similar to the new listing as far as age, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc.  I also research which listings did not sell at what prices and which  homes are currently on the market and what price they are asking.  This gives me a good idea of how much buyers are willing to pay based on, not my opinion, but statistics.  This is how I determine what price to encourage the seller to list the home.   The rest is up to the seller.  Occasionally, the sellers are surprised that the price is higher than they expected, but occasionally, there are sellers that think that my suggested price is too low and want me to list their home at a much higher price than my research can support.  If their expectations of price are too much higher, and I fail to convince them that the market will not support their expectations,  I have to walk away from that listing.  I do not want to waste my time trying to sell a home that will never sell.  Even though it is the seller that is sabotoging the sale of their own home, I end up the one to blame and that is not worth it to me.

Therefore, the idea that REALTORs® “set” the price or that “greedy REALTORs®” are driving up the prices and causing all the problems we are experiencing right now,”  is wrong.  If indeed an agent is talking to potential sellers and suggesting that they list at enormously inflated prices, that agent is starving because his listings are not selling and agents do not make any money if they do not perform.   

Buyers are not stupid, mindless robots wandering around,  shelling out whatever amount is quoted them by a greedy seller.  Buyers now do more research of the current market on their own before they ever call an agent.  They know what they want and how much it is going to cost them.  Overpriced homes set on the market and the listing expires. 

The definition of market value is “what a buyer is willing to pay”.   In reality, it is “what three buyers are willing to pay”, since the lender will require an appraisal which is a professional CMA.  An appraisal will compare the house in question to three similar homes, in a similar area, that have sold recently. 

REALTORs® do not determine market value.  Sellers do not determine market value.  No one determines market value except buyers. 


Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Community,Real Estate,Selling — Susan @ 10:59 am

Market Value

I have been reading the latest articles on the local real estate market the past few weeks. I like reading the comments that the public can submit associated with each article. Every article about real estate values seems to trigger quite a response from the readers. Judging by the comments, there seems to be a lot of people that think that REALTORs determine the prices of homes. I want to define “Fair Market Value.”
Buyers determine what a home is worth. Market value is defined as:
What a buyer is willing to pay.
Based on that definition, let me explain what I do to determine the price of a new listing.
When a seller calls me to list a home, I do a CMA, a comparable price analysis, it means that I do research on the Multiple Listing Service to see what homes have sold during the last 6 months, which ones are similar to the home I am listing, which ones sold in the same area as the home I am listing, and what price did similar homes in the same area sell for.

Filed under: Real Estate — Susan @ 9:50 am

November 21, 2007

Update on Home Sales

Here is an update on the Utah County real estate market in the last 30 days. 

121 homes sold under $200,000
118 homes sold between $200-$300,000
41   homes sold between $300-$400,000
15   between $400-$500
6     between $500-$600
1     between $600-$700
3     between $700-$800
1     between $800-$900
2     between $900-$1,000,000
2     over $1,000,000 

672 homes under $300,000 were listed as active in the last 30 days .
279 homes under $300,000 went under contract in the last 30 days.
239 homes under $300,000 sold in the last 30 days.

If you would like to know more about a specific price range, give me a call or email me.  I would be happy to get you the information you need. 

Filed under: Real Estate — Susan @ 8:01 am

November 15, 2007

Fact or Greed Inspired Hoax?


Amber Says:
October 30th, 2007 at 12:22 pm
This is an issue I hear about a lot. As a potential home-buyer, I keep getting advice about waiting until the market declines, but I really don’t see this happening. I want a home as soon as I can 1)find one I like that I can afford and 2)save up for the down payment. I am not crossing my fingers that the prices will go down, but stay close to where they are until I am at a good spot to purchase my first home.”

Yes, the statistics show that prices are not coming down except in 4 zipcode areas along the Wasatch Front. This is not speculation or someone’s opinion. It is a fact based on real numbers that appreciation in Utah is still very healthy. The MLS went online in 1994-1995.  Since going online, it has become a very valuable tool for keeping track of statistics relating to the housing market.   These statistics are used to analyze past trends and predict future possibilities.  I hear it all the time that we, “greedy Realtors” just say that the market is doing well so we can keep “raking it in”.    In my last post, I published some of the most recent appreciation values along the Wasatch Front.  I did not make up those numbers to “trick” sellers into listing with me nor did any other REALTOR®.  They come from the information the MLS gathers from all the houses that have sold over a given period of time, the prices that those homes sold for based upon square footage, # of bedrooms/baths, age of the homes etc.  The MLS is a correct, factual record of what is happening in the real estate market.  We draw graphs from using the data it provides.  If the graph is showing that housing prices are  going down, we as a profession would look pretty stupid to try and convince the public that it is going up.  By analyzing the factual statistics, I as a professional, with years of experience at analyzing the said market, am able to come to, more often correct than the general public,  an educated opinion of future trends. 

Based on the information provided to me from the MLS, in my opionion, unless you want to live in Slaterville/Marriott, Huntsville, 84103 SLC, and Murry/Taylorsville, you are going to pay from 4%-60% more money when buying a house if you wait.

Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Community,Real Estate,Renting,Selling — Susan @ 10:14 pm

November 11, 2007

Utah Appreciation Rates


The Deseret News recently ran an article titled, “Housing Market Faltering” in big bold letters.  Then there was a smaller sub-title, “But Wasatch Front prices still rising, though at a slower rate.”  They published the most recent statistics of the appreciation values based on zip code. 

I think it is important to emphasize the “prices still rising” part of the story so I am going to display some of the actual statistics for Utah County:

City                       Zip Code     Units Sold     Percentage Change 

Orem                     84097                42                       15.7%
Orem                     84058                43                       15.8%
Orem                     84057                64                       16.6%
Provo                     84606                49                       19.6%
Provo                     84604                41                       19.8%
Provo                     84601                66                         6.0%
American Fork        84003                73                       15.7%
Pleasant Grove       84062                70                         7.2%
Lehi                       84043              172                         4.6%
Springville              84063                79                        25.1%
Spanish Fork          84660              120                       16.1%
Mapleton                84664               13                        23.5%
Alpine                     84004              17                         60.8%

You can see that the market is still going strong in Utah.   There are a healthy number of units sold and Utah Countly had no negative appreciation rates.  The lowest is 4.6% which is still a good return on your investment.  This is why it bothers me when the media runs stories like this.  They headline their story with “Doom and Gloom” but the actual story is the opposite.  How many people only read the headlines and decide that they should wait to sell or wait to buy because of the mis-information.  There were 4 negative appreciation rates in the state.  Slaterville/Marriott, Huntsville, 84103 SLC, and Murry/Taylorsville.  To read the article and see other zip codes: Click Here

Filed under: Real Estate — Susan @ 10:08 am

November 9, 2007

New Home, Under Constuction

I have a great listing in Lehi.  This house has 5 bedrooms, 3 full baths and 2 half baths.  With a little over 5800 square feet, there is plenty of room for just about anyone.  It will have one of the nicest master suites on the main floor and 2 other bedrooms on the main.  Upstairs is the largest bonus room I have ever seen and 2 more bedrooms with a Jack & Jill bathroom.  The basement will be unfinished for unlimited possiblities.  This luxury home is still under construction so that means you still have time to give your own finishing touches.  For more information on this beautiful custom home, give me a call.  801-367-8214. 

Filed under: Real Estate — Susan @ 7:43 pm

November 7, 2007


I finished my final class requirement for my CRS designation.  Now, I have to send in the application.  I feel so relieved to have this done.  It has been a long road but I have learned so many great things that will help me provide better service.  I am excited about this. 

Filed under: Real Estate — Susan @ 5:41 pm

November 1, 2007

Utah County Association of REALTORS® Names New CEO

realtor-logo.jpg Interesting news…

OREM, Utah — The Utah County Association of REALTORS® has appointed Taylor Oldroyd as new Chief Executive Officer. Oldroyd, a Provo native, has extensive experience in government affairs, legislation monitoring and strategy development.

“Taylor has the right blend of political awareness and management skills to lead our Association to great new levels,” said Lerron Little, President of the Utah County Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors. “Taylor is fully prepared to assist our members in protecting private property rights given his broad career in local and national government.”

As Chief Executive Officer, Oldroyd will be responsible for day-to-day operations, executing Board Policy, assisting its members and overseeing the preparation of materials for the Board’s consideration. The CEO also reviews legislative proposals and represents the UCAR before government agencies, local and private organizations, and the Legislature.

“I am excited to join a strong team of professionals,” said Oldroyd. “I look forward to promoting a strong business environment in Utah County.”

Oldroyd holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science and a Masters degree in Public Administration from Brigham Young University. Oldroyd has been working in Washington D.C. for the Bush Administration at The U.S. Department of Agriculture and with Senator Orrin Hatch.

Prior to his career in Washington D.C., Oldroyd served as Deputy Mayor for Legislative Policy and Special Projects for Provo City. Oldroyd has also worked for Representative Chris Cannon and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.

“It will be great to be back in Utah County,” said Oldroyd. “It’s a beautiful place and it is the place my family and I really call home. I’m excited about renewing old acquaintances within the community and forming new ones as part of my leadership role.”

The Utah County Association of REALTORS® is recognized as the voice of real estate in Utah County. With their 2,400 members, the UCAR exists to provide leading edge programs, products and services that enable our membership to deliver the highest quality of professional service to their clients. Since organizing in 1912, the UCAR strives to be the leading advocate for the real estate industry and property rights issues in Utah County.

Oldroyd replaces Kevin Call, who was with the UCAR through September of this year.

Filed under: Real Estate — Susan @ 5:43 pm