St George Real Estate Market Conditions Reports and Opinions

Housing market reports, news, statistics, and opinions are brought to you by Paula Smith Associate Broker RealtyPath St George. If you would like to have Paula Smith cover particular topics, related to the Southern Utah real estate market, please use the contact information at the top or bottom of this page.  Please note, all topics are written by Paula Smith and everything is the intellectual property and opinion of Paula Smith. 

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Jan. 25, 2018

A Brief Overview of St. George Homes and Surrounding Cities

Read up on weather and amenities around St. George homes.

When I meet with clients who are searching the area for St. George homes, they typically want to know some basic information about the weather in the city and surrounding communities, as well as cost of living.

Located in the desert, St. George is somewhat hotter than the rest of the state, with fairly mild winters. The hottest month is July, with highs around 101 degrees. December is typically the coldest, with a high of 51.9 degrees and a low of 30.6. Rain is common throughout the year, and there can be some snow in December, January, and February (though if it actually sticks, it usually only stays for a couple of hours). The elevation is 2,860 feet.

St. George is the county seat of Washington County and the most populous city in the area. The median house price is around $220,000. We usually estimate about 1% of the assessed value of the house for property taxes. Keep in mind that the assessed value is not necessarily the same as the price you end up paying for a house. If the house is your primary residence, meaning that you live there full time, you pay 55% of the taxes. For vacation homes, owners pay the full taxes.

Residents of the city find great shopping at Red Cliffs Mall and the Shoppes at Zion. Excellent healthcare is available at Dixie Regional Medical Center, which is an Intermountain Hospital. There are many community festivals, from the Dixie Roundup Rodeo to the St. George Ironman to St. George Arts Festival.

Overall, the cost of living for those who own St. George homes is 5% lower than the national average, and significantly lower than many other large cities.

Historic Santa Clara Real Estate Hosts Swiss Days Every September

To the west of St. George is the charming, historic city of Santa Clara. Each September, the city celebrates Swiss Days, to honor the first settlers in the area, many of whom were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Switzerland. Frei's Fruit Market is a local institution, founded in 1956 and they are very popular for purchasing locally grown fruit and vegetables. It's open from Memorial Day through mid-December.

The weather in Santa Clara Utah is similar to St. George, and the elevation is 2,762 feet. Utilities cost well below average, while other necessities like transportation and groceries are also below average. Find Santa Clara real estate with both historic homes and spacious new construction.

If You Love the Outdoors, Check out Ivins Real Estate

Ivins is another lovely city to the north and west of St. George. The city is nestled against the Red Mountains, and Snow Canyon State Park is in your backyard. It's an ideal place for people who love to be outdoors. The newly opened Vista School is a public charter school that goes from kindergarten through eighth grade. The school is dedicated to providing students with a well-rounded education, emphasizing academics, the arts, and technology. The Southern Utah Veterans Home is a new, state of the art facility to provide treatment to veterans in need of long-term care. Ivins is also home to Tuacahn Center for the Arts, which stages performances in its outdoor amphitheater, including the Christmas Festival of Lights and there is also a charter high school within Tuacahn.

The median price of Ivins real estate is around $238,000, which is somewhat above the national average. The cost of living in Ivins is also a bit above the national average because of its housing prices. However, as in the other cities in the area, costs for groceries and healthcare are less than average. Weather and elevation are similar to St. George.

Washington Real Estate Offers Quiet, Rural Living

Washington lies to the east of I-15 and still retains a lot of its rural feel. It was once a cotton growing area, though the city has been developing rapidly in the past couple of decades. However, it's still possible to find Washington real estate that is just waiting for someone to come and build their dream house on it.

Choose Hurricane Real Estate for a Country Lifestyle

Hurricane is north and east of St. George, about a 20 minute drive away. It is still the most rural of all the cities and is a very safe place. The city is expanding, with new construction of Hurricane real estate in turn attracting more businesses into the area. Hurricane has similar weather to St. George but is at a somewhat higher elevation at 3,248. The median home price is $202,000, which is a bit higher than the national average. As we have seen in the other cities, utilities, groceries, health care and transportation are all less than average.

Paula Smith RealtyPath St George

I hope this overview helps any potential new residents gain a feel for the different cities and areas around St George. My name is Paula Smith, and I would be happy to speak more in depth on any of these cities. Please contact me for more information or call 435.773.3751.

Jan. 11, 2018

Purchasing a New Construction Home Using a Buyer Agent

The Most Important Thing to Remember When Touring St. George New Construction Homes

Hire a Buyers AgentConstruction is booming in St. George right now.  There are many great reasons to check out St. George Utah new construction homes.  First of all, new homes are built with the latest safety and quality standards.  You have the ability to work with the builder or design center to select colors, flooring, and fixtures throughout the house, so you can decorate it exactly to your taste.  New construction also offers many different floor plans to choose from, which means you can customize your new St. George home to suit your needs and lifestyle.  Entertain a lot?  Go with a formal dining room!  Work from home?  Have a dedicated home office.  There are so many possibilities.

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Jan. 11, 2018

2018 St George Utah Parade of Homes

Find Your Dream St. George Home at the Annual Parade of Homes

Go to the Parade of Homes to find the perfect St. George homeIf you’re in the market for a St. George home, why not make time to attend the St. George Area Parade of Homes?  The annual event is hosted by the Southern Utah Home Builders Association and Zions Bank and will take place this year from February 16th through the 25th.  There will be 28 homes available to tour.  Each has been built and decorated by a different local builder.  Those who tour the St. George Parade of Homes will be able to get an idea of available homes and preview the work of several builders, this is especially helpful if you’re thinking of building and new home in St George and you need to decide on which builder to work with.  

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Jan. 5, 2018

2017 Year End St George Real Estate Market Report

Winter has set in, despite the unseasonably warmer conditions (my apologies to the east coast, I know you’re getting hit with a cold front) and 2017 has ended.  It’s not only the weather that is unseasonably warm for this time a year, the market is still on the hot side too.  While it’s typical to see a mild slow down during the holidays, our St George real estate market never stops.  Below, you’ll find an illustrative snapshot for the past two years.  You’ll notice that sales overall have remained steady.  New listings declined in December, which is typical, and we’ll expect a spike for January as well as higher prices as we come into February, when the annual St George Parade of Homes occurs (click the following link for more: Parade of Homes Info). 

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Jan. 4, 2018

St George Utah Utility Rates

Utilities in St George Utah Comparison

St George Utah Utility RatesThe cost of living is an important factor when considering a move to a new area. 

Here is a good question:

A lot of people ask about utilities. They want to know the difference in pricing for our areas. 

St George City features 2 utility areas—City of St George (which handles power, water, sewer, trash) however, some areas will fall into Dixie Power.  Dixie Power is quite desirable due to the lower cost (among the least expensive in the nation).  Dixie Power service area is anything East (to Sand Hollow Reservoir) or South of the Virgin River and including the Bloomington & Sunriver subdivision (Virgin River cuts through Bloomington).  https://www.dixiepower.com/services/service-areas/

What are the rates for Dixie Power in St George?

Dixie power rates are $25/mo plus $.059/kWh (as of Sep 2017) the remaining utilities will be provided by each city designated utility office (for water, sewer, trash etc…).

https://www.dixiepower.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Utah-Rates-for-September-2017.pdf

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Nov. 21, 2017

2155 W 1190 N St George Utah Stone Gate Seven Hills

Home For Sale with 3 Car Garage in St George Utah

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Nov. 4, 2017

225 N. Country Lane #61 St George Utah

If you’re searching for a St George Utah condo with a view, look no further.  This private end unit in Blackrock is a gated community in St George, and this is a private location offers a stellar view of the Sunbrook Golf Course and our red mountains. You’re going to be inspired the moment you walk through the door and see the panoramic views from over sized back patio.  These red mountain views are what people travel here to witness, and you can enjoy them from the comfort of your new home; from your living room, patio, master bedroom and the guestroom.  

Condo For Sale In St George Utah

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Oct. 6, 2017

October 2017 St George Utah Real Estate Market Report

October 2017 St George Utah Real Estate Market Report

Fall is upon us and it’s been a wonderful break in the temperatures.  Our mornings have been crisp and our afternoons warm, leaving something everyone can enjoy.  Hopefully you’re outside doing something around our beautiful town.  I know the St George Marathon is currently underway, what a perfect time for our many athletes to partake in this race.  If you’re out driving around town, you’ll likely encounter a few detours and our restaurants may become busier than usual, welcome racers and fans and we hope everyone will enjoy St George.

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Posted in Buyers, Sellers, Statistics
July 11, 2017

St George Utah Reverse Mortgage or HECM Loan

What is a “reverse mortgage” loan (or HECM) and why would I ever do that?  It’s a popular question on a very common loan here in the St George, Utah area and probably most popular in Sunriver (our larger active adult community).   Allow me to preface this by stating that I am an real estate agent here in St George and Sunriver, and I am NOT a loan professional, this is only an article written based on my knowledge and experience having had many clients, as well as family utilize this loan.  The examples I’ll use below are only basic examples and no way apply to any particular circumstances.  

A reverse mortgage can be obtained by anyone 62+.  If one spouse is younger than 62 years old, a reverse mortgage can still be obtained, it will just require a bit more of a down payment, since the actual down payment is calculated on the age of the younger spouse (to obtain an exact amount you must speak to a loan professional).   The short story is (for those who won’t make it through this lengthy article) is you will put around 50% down and you will not have any payments so long as you remain living in the home.  The only thing you’ll be paying is HOA, taxes, and insurance (and of course typical home maintenance & utilities).  What you WON'T be paying, is a loan payment.  I’ll elaborate a bit more, further on.

Why would anyone do this loan?

Again, the short story is….everyone wants to spend $250,000 for a new home, so they’ll have money left for things they’d like to do (or simply have money for emergency or cash on hand).  Once we begin searching for homes, the available homes in this price point are typically not checking off all of the “wants” for the buyer.  The typical “want” list is more like: 1600+sqft, private backyard, view, newer, 3 car garage, upgrades….  Well….those homes are usually closer to $400,000 (or more, depending on specifics).  So what’s a buyer to do?  They only want to spend in the $200’s but they want to have the home in the $400’s.  This is when the Reverse Mortgage comes into play.  The buyer can have the $400,000 home and put their $200,000 down…viola!  They got the home they wanted for the price they wanted to pay.

But I don’t want the government to take my home!

This is the biggest misconception of these loans.  The government won’t just “take” your home.   Yes, it’s a government loan, but so is any loan.  Fannie, Freddie, FHA, VA….it’s all the same.   So long as you’re living in the home, the home is yours.  Now if you try to move to another home and rent out the Reverse Mortgage home, yes…your home will be sold…BUT….it’s not like this happens overnight  without your knowledge—leaving you with nothing.  You own the home.  If you want to sell it—go right ahead.  You’ll be paying off the loan (just as you would any other loan) and you’ll keep any proceeds left over.  It’s discouraged to do a Reverse Mortgage loan only to turn around and sell it only because it’s a more expensive loan to have (but you’ll have all of the figures LONG before you sign any documents).  The point of this, is that you CAN sell it—it’s your home!  The government wont “take” it.  If you move from it, they will step in and begin the process to sell it.   When the last remaining original spouse passes away, that spouse can still leave the home  to a beneficiary, which they can utilize the first year to sort through effects.  After a year, the bank will step in and assign a real estate agent to list the home for sale.  Once the home is sold, the bank loan will be paid off and if there are any remaining proceeds, it will be sent to the beneficiary(s).  If, for example, the economy has declined into a low and the home loan payoff is $250,000 and the home is only worth $200,000; then the beneficiary may utilize the first year, then once it’s sold they will walk away.  They will not be billed for the difference. 

How does the loan work?

So, in a traditional forward loan, you make monthly payments and part of those payments goes to principal (to pay down the loan) and the rest goes toward interest.  In a reverse loan, you’re not paying anything—however the interests will accrue each month.  You’ll know the interest rate from the very beginning, so this won’t be a surprise.   As an example, perhaps you’ll start out with a reverse mortgage loan of $200,000 and you live for 15 years, then you pass away and leave the home to your family, or beneficiary.  Maybe the loan payoff is now $290,000 (again…I’m totally pulling all of these figures out of thin air—nothing has actually been calculated)  and the home is worth $400,000.  So your beneficiary can use the first year to sort through your things, estate sales, whatever they need to do….the home is sold, the loan is paid, and the beneficiary will receive a proceeds for the difference (less the payoff and real estate transfer fees).  Yes, the loan will essentially get larger each month, but that is because you’re not paying anything over the life of the loan.  

What type of home can I do a reverse mortgage loan on?

The answer is simple…any home!  You can do a reverse mortgage on any home that meets FHA guidelines.  The home has to be appraised, just like with any other loan.  The biggest misconception I’ve found is that buyers believe they must do the reverse mortgage loan when they first buy the home—if they don’t, they cannot obtain the reverse mortgage loan.  This is NOT the case.  You can do a reverse mortgage any time you want to.  Maybe you’re thinking of moving to St George, Utah but you’re not sure if you’re going to like it.  You may consider purchasing a home with a traditional loan (or cash) and then once you decide you want to stay forever (most people do!) then you can apply for the reverse mortgage loan then.  Here is a link with more information on a reverse mortgage loan.

https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/hecm/rmtopten

If you’re interested in purchasing a home in St George, contact Paula Smith with Red Rock Real Estate today.  I can assist you with all aspects of your purchase and put you in contact with a reputable reverse mortgage lender. 

Posted in Buyers, Sellers, SunRiver
June 14, 2017

St George Real Estate Market Report June 2017

This is our June 2017 St George Utah housing market analysis, for the Greater St George area; which includes: St George, Santa Clara, Ivins, and Washington.  The stats will also include Sunriver (as well as communities like Little Valley and Washington Fields).  I’ll also do a separate report specific to Sunriver within this post.

Time is moving fast, so is the St George Utah real estate market.  As of today, there are 734 homes for sale in St George Utah (and greater St George area).   This number has been on the steady decline, and an obvious sign to the shift into the “sellers market”.   Only two years ago (May 2015) there were 1,303 active homes listed, and one year ago there were 1,065 homes for sale in St George.  In two years, we are seeing a 43% decrease in inventory.   As for SOLD homes in St George, our year to date (YTD) ending May 31, 2017 was: 1492.  Comparing this with 2015 we are about 16% higher (YTD) and comparing last year we are almost 9% higher.  We’ve had our typical spike for May and typically another will occur in August.   Here is a 2 year comparison.

St George Utah Sold Homes

Sunriver is no different than the rest of the St George Utah housing market.  Inventory remains low and prices continue to trend upwards.  I personally set a record last year on one of my listings, having one of the smaller available floor plans selling for the highest amount during that time.  And recently, I personally sold the very last home priced under $200,000 (two months ago).  I’m not expecting to see the “under $200,000” price point again in Sunriver in the near future.   As of today, there are 51 homes available for sale in Sunriver, of these—17 are “spec” homes (or new construction).  This means that there are only 34 resale homes available in Sunriver.  It’s a sought after community, well priced homes having the upgrades that buyers are looking for will sell in a matter of days (sometimes hours!).   Here is a market snapshot of the past 2 years specific to Sunriver.   

Sunriver St George Homes Sold

I just did some updating on my website—let me know what you think!  Feedback is important, I’d like to provide a user friendly and appealing website.  If you’re looking for other statistics for the real estate market or homes sold in St George, Contact Paula Smith and let me know what you’d like to see.  I’ve sold the last of my available listings, so I’m ready to list your home.  If you’re thinking of buying, reach out—I want to help.