The housing markets in Utah's most populous counties have endured four challenging years, according to a new report.
Based on five key metrics related to the nation's housing market — average home price, unemployment rate, foreclosure inventory, foreclosure starts and share of distressed sales — the U.S. housing market comes out worse off than it was four years ago, with a several Utah counties hit especially hard.
The 2012 Election Housing Report showed that the average price of a residential property nationwide has decreased 20 percent during the past four years — leaving more than 12 million homeowners owing more than their property is worth, according to RealtyTrac, a market research firm based in Irvine, Calif.
What that numbers don't reflect is the upward trend during the past year in the housing market and the peak periods of foreclosure which kept numbers low during the past few years.
All six Beehive State counties in the report saw unemployment rates nearly double or exceed that amount, from at least 3 percent in 2008 to 6 percent or greater in 2012, while four counties saw the volume of foreclosure starts jump more than double during the period.
But the Utah unemployment rate continues to be better than the national average and the growth in exports also points to an economy on the rebound.
Despite the report's poor numbers, the state's housing market has steadily improved during the past year, and Utah has one of the lowest overall unemployment rates in the country — more than 25 percent below the national rate of 7.8 percent.
Daren Blomquist, vice president of marketing for RealtyTrac, said the foreclosure market is improving nationwide, which bodes well for Utah and most other states.
However, the positives of lower foreclosure inventory and fewer foreclosure starts are outweighed by the negatives of lower home prices, higher unemployment and a higher share of distressed sales, the report stated.
Nationwide, in the 919 counties with data available for all five metrics, 580 (65 percent) showed at least three out of the five key metrics worse off than four years ago, while in 315 counties (35 percent) at least three of the five key metrics were better off than four years ago. Deseret News