Home prices were consistently up again in most markets in 2018 but at reduced levels
compared to recent years. High demand for few homes for sale fueled price increases,
but evidence is mounting that inventory will finally improve in 2019. This may apply
some downward pressure on prices for beleaguered home buyers. A fourth interest
rate hike by the Federal Reserve in 2018 spooked the stock market to close out the
year. The Fed has indicated that the number of rate increases in 2019 will be halved,
which may be of little comfort to an already compressed consumer.
New Listings in the state of Utah were down 0.9 percent to 3,125. Pending Sales
decreased 10.9 percent to 2,723. Inventory grew 2.3 percent to 11,716 units.
Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 10.7 percent to $299,900. Days on
Market held steady at 48. Months Supply of Inventory was up 3.8 percent to 2.7
months, indicating that supply increased relative to demand.
Unemployment rates remained remarkably low again in 2018, and wages continued to
improve for many U.S. households. It is generally good for all parties involved in real
estate transactions when wages grow, but the percentage of increase, on average, has
not kept pace with home price increases. This created an affordability crux in the
second half of 2018. Housing affordability will remain an important storyline in 2019.