Housing market: When are prices more likely to drop in Utah, Idaho?

Housing market: When are prices more likely to drop in Utah, Idaho?

Roger Pettingell Sarasota Real Estate

As the U.S. housing market hits a turning point, now cooling from red-hot to lukewarm, economists’ predictions of what happens next are swirling.

They pretty much all agree — and we’re already seeing it in the data — that home prices will “decelerate” to some extent. Thanks to the Federal Reserve’s upward pressure on borrowing rates, the pandemic housing frenzy days of more than 20% year-over-year price growth appear to be over.

The real question is if some areas, especially those that went wild over past years, will see price growth decelerate so much that it actually leads to home price drops.

We know the West was ground zero for the COVID-19 housing rush. States like Utah and Idaho, in particular, saw record-breaking home price increases as out-of-state movers flooded those markets from big cities in search of more bang for the buck.

But now that the rush looks to be over, the nation’s housing market is contracting, and that’s happening fastest in the West. But some areas in those western states face higher risks for home price drops than others.

That’s according to Fortune’s latest analysis of CoreLogic data of the nation’s largest regional housing markets.

CoreLogic calculated the likelihood of regional home price declines by assessing factors like income, growth projections, unemployment forecasts, consumer confidence, debt-to-income ratios, affordability, mortgage rates and inventory levels, Fortune reported.

CoreLogic then categorized those markets into five groups, based on the likelihood that home prices in those areas will drop over the next year. The “very high” classification means that area has an over 70% chance of a price drop, “high” means a 50% to 70% chance, “medium” means a 40% to 50% chance, “low” means a 20% to 40% chance, and “very low” means a 0% to 20% chance.

Of the markets included in the analysis, several regional markets glow red hot, at “very high” risk of price drops over the next 12 months.

You guessed it. Boise, Idaho, came up again as among the nation’s top areas with “very high” chances of seeing regional home prices dip. So did the Lake Havasu City-Kingman and Prescott valley areas of Arizona.

Counties scattered throughout Washington, Oregon and California, including San Francisco, also have “high” or “very high” chances of seeing prices drop over the next year.

But it’s a different story for Utah and even other regional markets in Idaho and Arizona.

In Utah, the Ogden, Salt Lake and Provo markets have a “low” chance of seeing prices dip. The Logan area has a “very low” chance, according to the analysis.

The Beehive State, with its yearslong housing shortage, rapid population growth, strong job market and desirable proximity to world-class hiking and skiing, is still facing quite a bit of housing demand. The latest CoreLogic data aligns with what economists have been saying about Utah, ranking its regional markets as having lower risk of home price drops compared to Boise’s market.

Boise is among the top areas that saw an influx of home buyers amid the pandemic, and is now one of the markets to slow the fastest.

“Concerns about cooling of housing market demand is spreading across more markets particularly as (a) higher share of home sellers are starting to reduce their asking prices and home price growth is slowing. The number of markets with more than 50% probability of price decline doubled again compared to month prior, but remains concentrated to regions that saw particularly strong price growth over the last two years or areas with population out-migration,” Selma Hepp, CoreLogic’s deputy chief economist, told Fortune.


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