SILICON SLOPES IS THE PLACE TO BE 

By Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties
Aug 03, 2016

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Utah is world famous for having the Greatest Snow on Earth®, but recently, the Wasatch Front has become the home of a rapidly growing tech industry known as “Silicon Slopes”. Technology companies have descended upon the Beehive State spawning exponential growth along the Front. With Tech Giants like Adobe, Twitter and a host of innovative start-ups concentrated in South Salt lake County and North Utah County, residential neighborhoods in Riverton, Bluffdale, South Jordan, Draper and Lehi are bustling with new life.

What was once “small town” and farmland dotting the valley south of Salt Lake City is now the hottest area of growth in the state. The great thing is, several net positives promise to maintain the trajectory.

Location is important and although Utah may seem a bit “out-of-the-way”, it is actually drawing technology companies like no other place. The only state capitol with an international airport, Salt Lake City is a brief hour-and-a-half from the Bay Area and easily accessible to the rest of the world. The city is within minutes of unlimited outdoor activity and world class skiing. Renowned ballet, symphony, theatre and professional sports add to the vibrant community.

Low home prices, competitive salaries, and low operating costs are another draw for business and residents alike. Tech companies relocating from the Bay Area are able to offer their employees better benefits as well as invest more money back into business and product development resulting in better products and a more robust corporate footprint.

The entrepreneurial spirit and capable, willing workforce add to the stability of “Silicon Slopes”. Local universities provide outstanding programs in computer science, engineering and programming. They inspire and supply a healthy work ethic and energize future innovators and executives.

The “Silicon Slopes” area of the Wasatch Front is an exciting place to live and work and its contribution to the state’s economy has solidly secured Utah’s place on the map.

Berkshire HathawayHS.com Goes Global

By Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties
May 18, 2016

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is expanding globally and our website is making the change, too.

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The new website features language, currency and measurement options for prospective buyers both in the U.S. and abroad whose native language may not be English. Global consumers accessing BerkshireHathawayHS.com may search for homes in any city or state serviced by our franchisees. What they’ll find they can’t get anywhere else: full MLS data containing all listings in their search area, including our own Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices listings in their language of choice. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices . . . Good to Know. ®

To complement our international platform, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices now sends your listings to over 35 countries throughout the world!

Utah ranked No. 1 Best State for Business for 2015—the fifth year out of the last six

By Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties
Apr 28, 2016

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From the Governor's Office of Economic Development: 

When you think of the nation’s greatest sports dynasties, you might think of the Boston Celtics, New York Yankees or Green Bay Packers. Now think “economic dynasty”—and Utah should come to mind. Forbes magazine once again ranked Utah as the No. 1 Best State for Business for 2015. This marks five out of the last six years in the top spot.

“We’ve enjoyed years of success but have also learned a very important lesson: it’s much harder to stay on top than it is to get there,” said Governor Gary R. Herbert. “It’s always exciting to earn top accolades, but it’s even more meaningful that this is our fifth win from Forbes. It means that all of our work to maintain a winning business environment is working. It means we’re continuously building a champion state.”

Utah has been ranked No. 1 for economic outlook every year since 2008. Everyone from the Washington Post and Fortune magazine to The New Yorker has been talking about Utah, trying to discover the Beehive State’s secret to success. Collaboration is one of the state’s not-so-secret strengths.

“Sports dynasties don’t happen because of one star player or a single miracle play,” said Val Hale, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “They happen because of focused strategy, tireless effort and—perhaps most importantly—teamwork. The same goes for Utah’s economy. This is the result of continued partnership between Utah’s greatest in business, government, education and our communities. Team Utah has built an incredible economic dynasty.”

The Forbes ranking comes just days after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s latest research titled “Enterprising States: States Innovate.” Utah took top marks in all six measured categories, including business climate and high-tech performance. The state won the No. 1 spot for innovation and entrepreneurship, garnering the label of “most fundamentally sound state” from the Chamber.

One point in the Chamber’s study is reminiscent of 2013—the one year in the past six—that Utah ranked a still noteworthy No. 3 rather than No. 1 with Forbes. One area for improvement in the “States Innovate” report is talent pipeline. Utah barely missed the top ten for the category taking the No. 11 spot.

Like any hall of fame team, Utah’s overall success lies in a proactive focus on the fundamentals: reduced regulation, spending within means and, when necessary, implementing “cross-training” and “conditioning” to perfect our economic play.

Just last month, an unprecedented collaboration between government, industry and education leaders produced the Utah Aerospace Pathways (UAP) program. The program is designed to place high school students on the fast-track for aerospace careers, landing them in high-paying jobs right after high school graduation. UAP serves as a pilot for similar education programs for other industries—such as the IT and software sector—along with incumbent worker training programs. Coupled with other endeavors such as the STEM Action Center’s grant programs and teacher trainings, all hands are on deck for tackling workforce development. The idea is to create sustainable economic development.

“Our job as part of Team Utah is to work with companies that are considering Utah for expansion, so we see the business site selection process regularly,” said Jeff Edwards, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. “Receiving the Forbes Best State for Business ranking again in 2015, and for the fifth time in six years, confirms what we hear from companies every day: no one else does economic development like Utah. The model we have in this state, with industry support, local community participation and leadership from the Governor’s Office—it is uncommon and remarkable.”

Salt Lake City Spring Market Update

By Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties
Apr 21, 2016

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March 2016 active listings (inventory) was down 32% from March 2015; yet, pending sales are up 8% in Salt Lake City County. This trend of low inventory by high pendings has occurred consistently for the last year. Bottom line: demand for housing remains strong, and inventory remains constrained.

Utah county has slowed slightly as far as pendings and Davis County has the lowest number of listings. The county is down 45% in inventory when compared to the same time last year. Once again, Davis county has more pending deals than they do active inventory.

Weber County is showing the same signs of frantic buyer interest with inventory down 37% from March of last yet, but pending sales are up 9%.

Davis County is seeing the strongest appreciation if you look at the month of March 2016 over 2015, with a 10% increase in median sales price this year.

Median price closed out at $255,000 in SLC county, which is up from January by almost 7%!  Pricing is skyrocketing in the affordable price range; for Wasatch front, anything under $500K is seeing rapid appreciation. Median price in SLC may reach over $260K for all unit types and could surpass $300K for single family homes. That's a ceiling we've never even gotten close to in Salt Lake City.

Remember it's a seasonal market and this is common.  If we remove the seasonality and just compare March 2015 to Feb 2016 median price is up 7%. This conveys that the market ceiling is really being challenged.  On one hand, there is nothing to buy because inventory is low; but, at the same time buyers are experiencing price shock since the market got back to all time new highs in 2015.

Our take: The market will remain hot with more inventory coming to market over the next 90 days and likely will still see strong appreciation until inventory gets back to normal market levels.

 

 

FIRST TIME HOME BUYER CHALLENGES AND TIPS

By Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties
Apr 06, 2016

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Along the Wasatch front, rent is astronomically high while interest rates are still historically low; buying a home seems like a no-brainer. Yet Millennials have been slow to take on home ownership. Why the hesitation?

There are several factors: A recession which brought with it high unemployment resulted in a massive number of foreclosures that attracted real estate investors... in droves. With more rentals available and fewer homes for sale, demand for rental properties increased and with it, skyrocketing rents. In addition, New college graduates looking for higher-paying, career-oriented jobs were sidelined by high unemployment and unprecedented student loan debt limited access to credit and reduced borrowing limits.

Add it all up and Millennials are at a serious disadvantage. However, there are some fundamental tactics to help navigate the current real estate market and succeed in finding a home.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

There is vital information you should know, but probably don’t, about buying a home. Just because you don’t know, doesn’t mean you can’t know.

Check your credit–This is important! Ideally, you should have ample credit available and only a third of it used. Repairing damaged credit should begin at least 6 months before starting your home search.

Evaluate Assets and Liabilities–Track your income and spending for a couple of months. Compare your earningpower and cost of living. Are you due a raise or can you live more economically?

Qualify yourself–A lender can tell you how much borrowing power you have, but only you know how much you can comfortably spend. Which brings us to...

Unexpected fees–Don’t forget to prepare for these fees: closing costs, property tax, HOA fees, life insurance, mortgage insurance, home insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc.

Figure out your down payment–Once you know how much you can borrow, unexpected costs, and your spending limit, you can figure out a down payment that will keep your monthly payment “comfortable”.

Organize documents–Your lender will need 2 most recent pay stubs, the previous 2 years’ W-2s, tax returns and the past 2 months of bank statements. Knowing what you need and where to find it will save you time and effort.

CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS

There is dramatically low inventory of starter homes and prices are rising. Many homes are receiving multiple offers which creates challenges for first-time buyers. Increase your chances of finding a suitable property by considering some alternatives.

Go smaller–A smaller home, a smaller lot size or a lower cost neighborhood can reduce your costs.

Take on a project–Homes in need of updating, cosmetic improvement or a manageable degree of repairs are typically cheaper and in less demand.

Share the cost–A duplex or a home with an apartment will allow you to cover your mortgage by renting out one of the living spaces while living in the other. Save money while building equity and when you are ready to move up you can either rent or sell the property and apply the profit to your new home.

MORE TO CONSIDER

Interest rates are at historic lows, and first-time buyer programs, (featuring low or no down payments) are currently plentiful in the industry. With home values rising faster than salaries and comps, a lower home appraisal can be a bargaining chip to reduce the cost of your new home, even in this competitive market.

In Spite of Low Inventory, Wasatch Front Home Sales are Up

By Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties - Wasatch Front
Mar 04, 2016

While inventory along the Wasatch Front is down... way down, sales are up across all Wasatch Front counties.

Taking a look at Salt Lake County in January of this year, inventory is at 2430 homes across the county. That is down 30.20% from January 2015, yet sales are up 12.89% in the same comparison. In Weber County inventory is down 31.82% in January but sales are up 10.19% and pending sales are up 16.35%. Utah County had similar results in the same period comparison; 12.63% increased sales with 26.44% less inventory. What is amazing is Davis County has a 12.50% increase in sales over January 2015 in the face of a 41.38% drop in inventory!

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties is doing well along the Wasatch Front. In 2016 to date, Salt Lake Countty has 12.03% Market Share. Century 21 Everest Realty Group is in distant 2nd place with 9.99% Market Share. BHHS agents are listing homes at a higher average price than anyone in our market and closing sales at 98.01% of asking price.

So far, 2016 is shaping up to be a great year for real estate. Median home prices are up across the Wasatch Front and are likely to continue up into the spring. The shortage of home listings is a concern and needs to be addressed as we move into the warmer sales months. For those considering selling, now is the perfect time to capitalize on your investment. There are plenty of buyers and interest rates have dropped in 2016 instead of rising as predicted at the end of 2015.

BHHS Utah Tips: Real Estate and Taxes

By Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties
Feb 29, 2016

Tax considerations for buyers and sellers
 

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Buyers and sellers need to be informed about tax considerations before entering a transaction.

If you have purchased or sold a home last year, there are a number of tax deductions for which you may qualify. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

Profitability: According to the IRS, if you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income as a single tax filer, or $500,000 on a joint return in most cases.

Interest: Currently, much of the interest paid on a mortgage is tax-deductible. A married couple filing jointly can deduct all of their interest on a maximum of $1 million in mortgage debt secured by a first or second home.

Selling costs: Broker commissions, title insurance, legal fees, advertising costs, administrative costs, and inspection fees are all considered selling costs and currently may be used to reduce one’s taxable capital gain by the amount of the selling costs.

Refinanced mortgage points: They may be deductible, but not all at once. Homeowners who refinance may be able to immediately write off the balance of the old points and begin to amortize the new points. Interest paid on a home equity loan or similar line of credit may also be deducted.

Points/origination fees: On a home loan, if points or origination fees are paid during the purchase of a home, they are currently generally tax-deductible for the year in which they were paid.

Repairs/remodels: Qualifying capital improvements may be able to be deducted, including costs of a new roof, fence, swimming pool, garage, porch, built-in appliances, insulation, heating or cooling systems and landscaping.

Relocation expenses: If you move because of a new job, you may be able to deduct some of your moving costs. To qualify for these deductions, you must meet several IRS requirements, including that your new job is at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your previous job. Moving-cost deductions can include travel or transportation costs, lodging expenses, and fees for storing your household goods.

Property taxes: Currently deductible from your income. If you have an impound or escrow account, you can’t deduct the money held for property taxes until the money is actually used to pay your property taxes. City or state property tax refund reduces your federal deduction by an equal amount.

First-time buyer credit: For those buyers who took advantage of this credit within the past two years, remember that if within 36 months of the date of purchase, the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit.

Another important tip for those moving into a new home is to make sure you update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive refunds or correspondence from the IRS.

Tax laws change every year, and certain tax deductions become available while others phase out. Speak with a professional tax consultant about these and other considerations.

 

Do Downtown Salt Lake City Like A Local

By Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties
Feb 28, 2016

1258706.SLCNightSkyline1-smHome of the recently dubbed “Silicon Slopes” (IT, software development, hardware manufacturing, and research firms along the Wasatch Front), Salt Lake City is a pretty big deal. The Downtown area offers a plethora of entertainment, culture and diversion for every lifestyle and interest. Explore Salt Lake City and find out why YOU love it.

Getting Around

On Foot

The downtown area of Salt Lake City is very pedestrian friendly and the grid layout of the streets makes it easy to navigate.

Public Transportation

Within the downtown area, UTA allows passengers to ride both the bus and the train at no cost: The “free fare zone” is the area within the State Capitol to the north, 200 East, 500 South and Salt Lake Central Station to the west.

Car

The city’s grid layout and ample parking places make navigating downtown by car easy.

Places

Temple Square

The three-block plaza presents nearly 20 attractions related to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Anchored by the majestic Salt Lake Temple and other fascinating buildings like the expansive Tabernacle and the Gothic-style Assembly Hall. Stroll through scenic gardens and past the gurgling fountains.

Abravanel Hall

Home of the Utah Symphony & Opera and host to many other concerts. The excellent acoustics are praised by musical experts as among the finest of any modern concert hall.

Capitol Theatre

A landmark in downtown Salt Lake since 1913, it is known today for its elegant turn-of-the-century architecture and serves as the home for Ballet West, Utah Opera, Children’s Dance Theatre, and Broadway Across America–Utah.

Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center

With its three theatres, studio spaces, permanent art installations, and rotating art gallery, the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center is a performance hub for Salt Lake’s artists and performing arts companies.

The City Library Plaza

The 240,000-square-foot library features a 6-story walkable curving wall and a rooftop garden. Inside are shops and a cafe at ground level and reading galleries above, with spiraling fireplaces on 4 levels, abundant natural light, and magnificent views. The plaza has a reflecting pool and fountain.

The Leonardo at Library Square

The Leonardo has created an innovative, dynamic space that ignites the imagination of visitors of all ages and inspires them to see the world in a new way.

Gallivan Center

The Gallivan Center features an expanded grassy amphitheater, a huge ice rink, a unique array of art projects and a two-story, copper finished, banquet, party and meeting facility.

Clark Planetarium

10,000 square feet of free exhibits and the Orbital ATK 3D IMAX® Theatre or Hansen Dome Theatre.

The Depot

The Depot is home to Utah’s best indoor concert scene. In addition to live music, The Depot has also become a favorite location for corporate events, meetings, weddings and more.

Shop

City Creek Center

Salt Lake City’s premier shopping and dining destination was recently awarded “Best Retail Development in the Americas.” This unique shopping environment features a fully retractable glass roof, hourly fountain shows, waterfalls, and a sparkling creek that runs through the entire project.

Entertainment and Adventure

Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Turn Salt Lake City into a giant game board with this fun scavenger hunt adventure. Combine the excitement of the Amazing Race with a three-hour city tour. Start when you want and play at your pace.

Ballet West

Ballet West boasts a rich and varied repertoire, elegant and versatile artists and an American style and legacy that is as dynamic, expansive and unexpected as the Rocky Mountain region it represents. Ballet West has toured the world several times over presenting the very best in American classical ballet.

Modern West Fine Art

Modern West Fine Art is a western art gallery with a modern vision. Representing over thirty world-class contemporary artists from across the country.

Eat

Nauvoo Cafe

The Nauvoo Cafe is located on the corner of South Temple and Main Street in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, in Downtown Salt Lake City. The cafe has fast service take-out with a great view of Main Street Plaza and Historic Temple Square.

J. Wong’s Asian Bistro

Located in the historic Patrick Lofts building and just steps away from the Salt Palace, J. Wong’s offers downtown diners fresh and sophisticated Thai and Chinese cuisine in a stylish, contemporary setting. The menu honors the traditional dishes and modern interpretations.

The Melting Pot

An unforgettable fondue experience—attentive service, fine wines, highest quality of fresh ingredients, a variety of entrée cooking styles, unique sauces, cheese fondue, and chocolate fondue.

Blue Iguana

Featuring authentic flavors from deep in the heart of Old Mexico, our Blue Iguana Chef of over 17 years, Manuel Castillo takes great pride in the constant refinement of generations of Aztec family recipes. Located just east of the Salt Palace Convention Center on West Temple.

Spencer’s for Steaks & Chops

Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops of Salt Lake City is the ultimate steakhouse. Featuring USDA prime grade steaks that are aged for 21 days, hand cut and seared to perfection in our 1600 degree broiler.

Caffe Molise

Fresh fish, grilled meats, pasta, salads, and decadent desserts. Excellent wine list and full bar. Garden patio seating and private dining room available. Reservations accepted.

Legends Pub & Grill

Kick back and watch your favorite games on our big screens while you enjoy an awesome meal and our full bar. Stop by anytime for the best food and sports in town or call to reserve space for your group.

 

How to Add Curb Appeal in the Winter

By Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties - Wasatch Front
Feb 17, 2016

curb-appealWhat comes to mind when you envision curb appeal? Colorful flowers? A meticulously mowed and weeded lawn? New paint and a nice sitting area? All good efforts, but how do you create curb appeal in the winter?

There are a few important things you can do to make your home's exterior inviting even on the grayest, coldest days. For starters, keep the driveway and sidewalks clear. Clear away anything that distracts the eye from the beauty of the home and/or obstructs access to the entrance. Consider how you could enhance the exterior of the home with nice, simple decor.

After you have done all you can to enhance the exterior, compensate by presenting a well-kept interior. Touch up or repaint and add floral arrangements in the entry. The aroma of fresh baked cookies or bread are warm and inviting and a welcome treat when left for the buyers.

Salt Lake City-Home of Startups

By Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties
Feb 09, 2016

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Say good-bye to San Francisco, New York and Portland—Salt Lake City tops the list of places where startup dreams come true. Why? Maybe because it's a western oasis of low cost-of-living and stress-free recreation. Maybe it's because 31% of it's 1.1 million residents are college graduates with the highest percentage of foreign language speakers in the US.

Whatever the reason, Utah is open for business. Inspired by early sofware innovators Novell and WordPerfect, tech companies have found the "Silicon Slopes" to be the destination of choice. This insurgence of the tech industry has launched a slew of software and hardware startups all along the Wasatch front. In additon, the Utah Science Technology and Research Economic Development Initiative provides funding to the Univesity of Utah and Utah State University to research new technologies that are then spun off into companies each year.

 
 
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