Greater St George Utah Real Estate Market Report for June 2018
Summer in St George is in full swing, and the only thing hotter is our St George, Utah real estate housing market. Inventory remains low, and sales are high, contributing to this aggressive and fast-paced real estate market. Here is a quick snapshot (photo below) illustrating the past two years; this graph offers insight, and I’ll further analyze the status below. Also, if you’re interested in more specific statistics or reports I’ve missed, please provide your input—contact Paula Smith with RealtyPath directly and let me answer your questions.
The past two years are illustrated above; May has typically been a great month in sales as school is out, and people are ready to make their move (Washington County Schools let out in May for Summer, and we start up again in early August). The coveted price point is, and has been, anything under $300,000. Homes priced at $250,000 or less are nearly considered a prized possession, and the competition can be impossible at this price point. There isn’t much inventory, and the demand is always there, especially for a turn-key ready home. It’s interesting to note that luxury homes are selling at surprisingly high rates too, which is an obvious sign of our economy. From March 2018 to June 15, 2018, there were 159 homes sold at $500,000 and above. 17 of these homes sold OVER 1 million (in the past 3.5 months). Comparatively, for the same period last year (2017), the number of homes sold over $500,000 (in the Greater St George area) was 123 sold homes (this is 29% less), and of those, 11 were over 1 million.
St George Is One of The Fastest Growing Areas In the Nation
St George is among the fastest growing areas in the nation. Many regions across the country are also experiencing home value increases, and higher price metro areas allow sellers to cash out and purchase more homes for the money here in St George. Relocation is a significant contributing factor to our sales and our high-end sales. Additionally, people are making money, so “moving up” into a luxury home is possible, and buyers are taking advantage.
New Construction and Building a Home in St George
New construction in St George, Utah, is booming, specifically because buyers are having difficulty finding the home they want, so buyers are building to achieve their goals. New construction is ALWAYS more expensive when compared to resale homes. While a buyer may feel like they must build to get what they want, buyers on a budget will (at some point during the process) realize they will sacrifice what they want for what they can afford. Unfortunately, many buyers realize this toward the end and cannot have the essential features they were searching for (backyard landscaping, pool, etc…).
Builders have spec homes around town; a common complaint from buyers I work with is that the finish feels "cheap," and they'd like to align themselves with a better-quality builder. The truth is, almost all of the builders are the same (actual producing, more reputable builders are whom I'm referring to—YES….there ARE builders you SHOULD AVOID). All builders purchase their material from the same places; typically, they receive similar discounts and use the same subcontractors. So there are not builders around that can build for significantly less (I promise---and if they tell you this….I promise it's not true). Some builders can achieve some discounts, and others may be better shoppers for value, allowing them to share marginal savings. The fact is, you get what you pay for. If you desire a model-like home featuring high-end "wood look" tile plank flooring, fabulous lighting fixtures, and stunning staggered two-tone painted kitchen and home cabinetry, with granite or quartz throughout, tile in all the bathrooms and tub surrounds--- you've got to pay more. You can not build the model home you saw for less than a comparable resale; in fact….that model home you saw was likely built 8+ months ago, so a buyer is unable to build that SAME home for the same price the builder did at that time. Local builders tend to use "cheap finishings" to keep the overall cost in check. The buyer pool is more significant for a price point of $350,000 (with less expensive finishings) than it is to sell a higher-end home with high-end finishings. Additionally, builders will have lower carry costs with a lower price point. The time to build is quite extended right now, taking, on average, 9-12 months.
There are reputable builders in town and those that are not. Working with a buyer's agent is essential, even if building a home. Some builder representatives around town have been telling buyers they will save money if they do not use an agent; the irony is that those representatives are agents themselves. Working directly with the builder is vital for communication, but local buyers agents work to represent buyers, and we can inform you of actual savings. I've been able to save my buyers by knowing what to ask for and where potential discounts can save, as opposed to the unknowing buyer being told only a fraction of their options. The builder/seller isn't going to tell a buyer about the previous client who asked for a discount and received it.
From January to June 15, 2018, roughly 380 new construction homes were sold as compared to the same period in 2017; there were 310 new construction homes sold in St George (these numbers aren't exact, but close).
Is Now a Good Time to Buy in St George Utah?
Overall, the Greater St George market is up approximately 4% in the number of residential sales when compared to the same period in 2017 (Jan-mid June). The average sale price is up 11% (however, keep in mind that the surge of higher-end homes is skewing this number and should not be applied to the "average priced home"). Rising interest rates will likely cause a bit of a slow in rising home prices. My opinion is: prices will still trend upward, but it will probably be minimally and may likely flat line for a while (meaning pricing may stay close to where it is now). I do not foresee prices dipping due to rising interest rates unless (or until) our inventory starts to increase. At this point, our inventory is slightly less than last year's period, so I expect more of the same to continue through the end of the year. At year-end or as we head into 2019, we may begin to see more inventory, at which point there could be a shift in the market. This is only speculation as my crystal ball batteries are on backorder with Amazon; we will wait and see for now.
If you're looking to buy or sell in the St George area, I'd like to be the agent to help you. Please give me a call or send an email to Paula Smith RealtyPath St George.