Thinking of buying a home in Provo or a condo in downtown Salt Lake City during a federal government shutdown? Here's how I see the situation affecting real estate buyers and sellers:
1. Although you can still get home loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs or through your local bank, credit union or mortgage broker, lenders can't get your tax returns from the IRS to prove income. If the underwriter requires a certified copy of your taxes, you're screwed. But ...
2. If you live in a flood zone, FEMA is still being funded because it's part of the Department of Homeland Security, thus you can get flood insurance for your loan. And ...
3. Zero-down rural development loans cannot be issued because the Department of Agriculture is not funded. If you're not a buyer or seller but looking for low-income Section 8 housing, Housing and Urban Development is closed. Thus, there are no federal approvals for local housing authority inspections of new housing for rent, no new rent vouchers created for people who need gap funding, and possibly no rent subsidy checks sent out in February to millions of tenants who rent subsidized housing.
In the meantime, you can marvel at some of the largest home and condo sales in Utah so far in 2019:
• Park City—Home: $11,600,000. A 14,000 square-foot, seven-bedroom, 10-bath mansion in Deer Valley. Condo: $8,400,000. A 5,400 square-foot, four-bedroom, five-bath place at the Montage Residences.
• Utah County—Home: $3,620,000. A 14,000 square-foot mansion and equestrian estate with pastures on 3.38 acres in Mapleton. Condo: $599,900. A 2,850 square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath place at the Country Club Villas.
• Salt Lake City—Home: $3,600,000 on Walker Lane. Condo: $1,858,000 penthouse at City Creek. (That's $971 per square foot!)
What are the predictors saying for the Utah housing market in 2019? Unless the world blows up, prices will keep rising, but maybe not at such an aggressive rate as in the past few years. Mortgage interest rates climbed up to 5 percent but dropped this past week. I think interest rates will creep toward 6 percent or higher this year. I want to agree with 92-year-old Alan Greenspan, who said last month, "It's over," but my go-to guru, Sister Dottie S. Dixon, croons, "Utah is jus' so damned poplar!"