Utah home sales were up 2 percent in February, with Utah REALTORS® selling 1,936 homes for the month compared to 1,899 sold last year, reported the Utah Association of REALTORS® Friday. This is the second month in a row home sales have increased. Year to date, sales have increased nearly 8 percent.

“The year-over-year rise is particularly significant because it is compared to last February when the government’s home-buyer tax credit was still in place,” said Kenny Parcell, 2011 president of the Utah Association of REALTORS®. “Even without the $8,000 incentive, we still had more sales than last year, which reflects the improvement we’ve seen in the market.”

Compared to the nation, Utah sales were stronger percentagewise. While statewide sales were up nearly 2 percent, U.S. sales were down about 3 percent from last February.

The inventory of homes for sale also decreased nearly 11 percent in February. With less than 25,000 units for sale, this is the fewest number of homes on the market since mid-2007. It would now take 9.7 months to sell the entire existing inventory at the current sales pace.

“The market is still very much in favor of buyers, but the fact that the month’s supply of inventory is now less than 10 months is a sign that we may begin to see stabilization in home values,” Parcell said.

Housing affordability continued to improve. In February, the UAR’s Housing Affordability Index increased about 7 percent. According to the index, housing is 51 percent more affordable today than it was at the low point in 2007.

The median sales price of Utah homes declined about 9 percent in February, from $193,000 to $174,900.

“The combination of reduced home prices and low interest rates has put homeownership in reach for many Utahns,” Parcell said. “Buyers are getting more home for the money or are saving each month on their housing costs.”

Home sales were up the most in the Uintah Basin, where they rose 117 percent in Duchesne County and 105 percent in Uintah County. Sales were also strong in Wasatch County, rising 81 percent compared to February 2010.