I'm going to skip the first part of your question since the mortgage people have answered it quite well, but to answer your second question the market is still experiencing a downward trend, although only slight. I just did a blog post with the latest prices which are almost even year over year, with the greater avenues area up a little bit. I mainly focus on downtown Salt Lake so that's the market I am most knowledgeable in.
Keep in mind that government stimulus has poured trillions into the economy lately which is inflationary, so even slight price increases can be seen in a declining market if the nominal appreciation is less than the rate of increase of the monetary base, it can be very hard to analyse the market in these "stagflation" situations. Anyway the link to the latest stats is below.... more