(KCPW News) Salt Lake County is enacting more budget cuts as tax revenues continue to decline, but there is a bright spot in the budget — the county recorder's office. Recorder Gary Ott said he's seeing an uptick in documents processed for home sales and refinancing. And he's seeing fewer home defaults.
"In the last few weeks I've seen a steady upswing of the numbers of transactions that are people buying or refinancing," Ott said. "I think it's something that we look at and say: Yeah, I'm glad we're seeing it. You know, that the people around here are still needing to buy homes."
Ott said last week, his office processed 350 documents for new homes or refinanced home loans, perhaps evidence the new federal home buying incentives are beginning to work. While it's typical to see an upswing in real estate activity as the spring blooms each year, Ott said the economic forecast was so gloomy in January he was concerned the real estate market wouldn't show improvement this season.
Ott said the county recorder's office is on track to bring in about the same amount of revenue as last year, nearly $1.5 million. However, the office is fairly recession proof. Whether homes are being bought, sold or on the brink of foreclosure, each document must go through the office, with an average fee of $10 each.
"It really doesn't matter what kind of a document I record, if somebody is losing their house, they have to record a document; if somebody is buying a house, they have to record a document," Ott said. "So, I wish I owned the business because it comes out either way that the county gets something."
More than 10 million documents have passed through the Salt Lake County recorder's office since Utah attained statehood. Lately, that's about 800,000 documents per year for the roughly 350,000 parcels in the county.