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The National Association of Realtors reported today that although nationally sales of existing homes is down 3.1%, the Western Region only fell 1.6%, about half of the national drop. Areas such as the Midwest saw the biggest drop in sales (6.0%). Some metro areas such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix actually saw double digit increases as people took advantage of foreclosed homes and other bargains in those areas.
Average home prices dropped nationwide to 2004 levels, which depending on how you look at it is either good or bad — it’s good if you are looking at buying a home, maybe not so good right now if you are looking to sell or refinance and your equity position in the home is pretty skinny.
Overall though, home falling into the more affordable region and interest rates staying at historical low levels should help many people, especially first time home buyers, get into a new home with an affordable monthly payment. For first-time home buyers the $7,500 tax credit is still available which should make borrowing some cash for a down payment from family or others allot easier.
This is all especially good for Salt Lake City because as a whole, Utahn’s have above average credit worthiness so more borrowers in Utah qualify for homes than in other areas in the nation. Also, more homes are coming back into the range that the average Utahn can afford. So if you’re buying, or know someone thinking of buying a first home, now is a great time to do so. It really is.