I've been selling real estate since before mobile phones or the internet were around. Back then, homes near Liberty Park sold for $29,900. I once sold a friend a home in the Bountiful hills—a big one with 3,500 square feet, for $79,000. She and her husband thought they were paying way too much but loved the view. Jump forward a few years, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it was going to build the Bountiful Temple. Soon, million-dollar homes were rising all around them, and my friends were very, very happy with their new high home value.
This month, the same saints announced a temple will be built in Tooele. As the city is less than a 30-minute drive from the Salt Lake, it's seen a building boom—homes there are much less expensive than new construction in the Salt Lake Valley. Now their real estate market will improve even more, especially near the new temple site, and folks will move farther west to Grantsville, where new homes sell in the low $200,000s. The average price for a home in the Salt Lake Valley is $361,000.
I love Grantsville! I just took a listing there and got to revisit the sleepy little town where I used to hunt for abandoned buildings, old dumps and treasures during college. Grantsville has a newer city hall and a great library in the tiny downtown area, plus a grocery store and plenty of in-home hair salons. South Fork Hardware has baby chicks on sale right now. I asked a woman in the checkout line why she lived there, and she smiled and said, "I got tired of big-town Phoenix and the traffic. I have horses, and this place is great and close to Salt Lake." Many folks live in Grantsville because it is rural. It's 33 miles to Salt Lake City International Airport and even closer to the new prison and inland port sites. You can bet that as those projects near completion, Tooele and Grantsville will see a massive influx of renters and home buyers. Take the I-80 exit, and you'll drive down a two-lane road past beefalo (steaks for sale) ranches, cows, horses and dog kennels. It's picturesque: a rusty 1920s school bus parked in a field with a few black angus cows leaning against it for shade; sheep chewing away at grass while all the new lambs frolic in the spring sun; and mountains on both sides of the valley.
If you head north from Tooele, you'll go past the historic 150-year-old Benson Grist Mill, the Utah Motorsports Campus and the turnoff to the Utah Fire Museum at the Deseret Peak Complex. That place has groovy old firetrucks preserved inside, away from the elements. Take a trek some Saturday and see what lies west. Now that a temple is coming, the rural charm of the area is bound to slowly fade.