The first-quarter data from Metrostudy shows a slow start to home sales in 2014 in Salt Lake City and dramatic price appreciation for new homes. Existing home sales fell year-over-year from 4,863 to 4,545. New-home closing also fell from 548 to 506 from 1Q13 to 1Q14. This is a slowed selling season that falls in line with many other smaller western markets, such as Phoenix and Sacramento, that saw a year-over-year decrease.

Median closing prices are rising in the Salt Lake City market, however not as dramatically as other markets. Overall median closing price rose from $229,600 to $236,800 quarter-over-quarter. Median closing price for existing homes climbed to $222,500 in 1Q14 and new-home median closing price reached $311,100. For new homes, this is a significant year-over-year increase from $276,300 in 1Q13. It is also an increase from $303,000 in the fourth-quarter of last year. Despite the rise, homes in Salt Lake City still cling to affordability in the existing homes market for the first-time buyer.

Median closing price per square foot jumped overall to $141 from $139 in the previous quarter and $131 in 1Q13. New homes have experienced the largest increase in price per square foot in the last year with an increase from $126 to $140. Despite this climb, the average household age of new-home buyers in the Salt Lake City market was just 38 in the first-quarter compared to 43 in 4Q13. Existing homebuyer household age also declined from 46 to 45 quarter-over-quarter. Finally, the average household income for homebuyers has been consistently between $77,000 and $90,000 for both new and existing buyers throughout the last year. Metrostudy predicts an overall increase in new-home sales for the rest of this year. Based on the relative stability in the Salt Lake City market, it is likely the market will pick up in the second and third quarters.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Salt Lake City, UT.