Utah's 'Triple Witching' Real Estate Dilemma: Record High Home Prices; Record Low Mortgage Interest Rates; Record High Meth Contamination
If you own or are buying real estate in Utah in 2021, you are experiencing an unprecedented ‘triple witching’ style piece of history never before seen in the region: Record high home prices, record low mortgage interest rates, and record high meth contamination rates.
Record High Home Prices
Low mortgage interest rates, historic low underdevelopment, and strong economic growth over the past decade have pushed the demand for housing to record levels. According to The Utah Board of Realtors, Utah’s housing market is on fire, with projections that prices could rise by 8 to 10 percent by year’s end. This is despite the fact that the median price of a single-family home in Salt Lake County climbed to another historic high of more than $535,000 in May.
Record Low Interest Rates
As of this writing, mortgage interest rates remain at historic low levels that have persisted for a time period well beyond what most experts predicted. While government policy has had a major influence on keeping rates low, many experts are still puzzled at the length of this low interest rate cycle. A New York Times article published late last year reported that, “Economists don’t entirely know why rates have been so low for so long..”1
Only a few months ago CNBC reported that the Fed was signaling its intent to keep interest rates low to help stimulate the recovery from Covid-19, and suggested, “That means many Americans could refinance debt to save money.”2
Record High Meth Contamination
Meth usage and resulting property contamination have risen in lockstep with home prices in the blazing hot Utah real estate market over the past several years. Partly driven by the expanded housing market, the situation was worsened by the COVID-19 lockdown which put many people out of work and disrupted lives. This created a spike in reported anxiety, depression, drug usage and suicide incidents.
The Utah Department of Health reports that the number of meth contaminated properties rose 19% last year over previous years. Home inspectors estimate that approximately 10-25% of homes they inspect are contaminated.
The Problem with Meth
Meth smoked in a single room can contaminate the entire house through the HVAC system, creating a health hazard for everyone. And it’s not just a meth lab issue – although those are the worst cases. Recreational use in a space can quickly contaminate a house to unhealthy levels.
Unfortunately, this type of contamination doesn’t get better with time. The half life of meth is extremely long, meaning that a contaminated property will stay that way for years or even decades unless properly remediated. And in Utah, a contaminated property cannot be sold or rented until it has been remediated by a certified provider.
What to Do? Start with a Certified Test
If you suspect meth contamination in your home, get it tested right away. The health exposure is significant, even weeks or months after an incident. Even if you aren’t aware of specific meth contamination in your home or property, in this market it’s best to have it tested, especially before you buy or sell. Many people have been surprised to find contamination in a property they are considering, and have seen hopeful real estate transactions derailed because of a contamination discovery.
Meth testing is reasonably priced, and when completed by a certified provider through a state certified laboratory, is highly reliable. A single test can highlight a potential problem, and additional testing can be added to verify the extent of contamination. Multi-test discounts are available that make the cost of testing even more affordable.
Don't Leave it to Chance
Meth is a potent toxin with both health and economic impacts. If there’s any doubt, get the test. Call a Utah certified meth remediation company like RainFire Restoration and order the RF Method testing so you can buy, sell and rent with full confidence.
Make Triple Witching Work for You
This is a great time to be in the real estate market in Utah. By eliminating one of the ‘witches’ – meth contamination – you can take full advantage of record low interest rates and continued escalating home prices.