Blog Post

Insight: Record Number of Cash Buyers Are Adding Fire to Utah’s Hot Housing Market

By: Dejan Eskic

Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect an institutional position of the Gardner Institute. We hope the opinions shared contribute to the marketplace of ideas and help people as they formulate their own INFORMED DECISIONS™.

Observing Utah’s housing market so far this year, at first glance you wouldn’t think there’s a global health crisis and the world is experiencing an historic economic downturn. Simply put, the housing market is on fire in terms of transactions and pricing. This “fire” is partly due to a lack of existing for-sale inventory, which currently sits approximately 50% below the historic average. Another anecdote heard from real estate agents is that since the pandemic started, we’ve seen an influx of wealthier out-of-state buyers escaping large coastal cities to work from home in more affordable Utah. They’re outbidding other potential home buyers and pay cash, further driving up prices. This has made the market very competitive, pushing the average days on market to a record low of just 11.

While the data on migration lags, this anecdote is reflected in the number of cash transactions. Since the beginning of the pandemic in late March, the number of cash buyer