This is an archived article that was published on in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The small business-for-sale market is getting healthier, both nationally and in the Salt Lake City area., which describes itself as the largest online business-for-sale marketplace, said the number of businesses changing hands nationally during the third quarter was up 2.8 percent, compared with the same quarter of the previous year.

"Over the past two years we've seen similarly small increases in the business-for-sale market as economic conditions and overall business performance have improved," said Mike Handelsman, group general manager of "This quarter's growth was likely assisted by sellers looking to exit their businesses before the anticipated increase in the capital gains tax rate at the close of 2012."

In Salt Lake City, the cost to buy an existing business reflects that trend, with the median asking price at $383,500 during the quarter, compared with $230,000 a year ago. The median means that half of the owners of existing businesses were asking more than that amount for their companies and half were asking less.

During the third quarter, the 176 Salt lake City-area businesses that were listed for sale had a median revenue of $450,567, up from $348,853 in the same period last year. The median cash flow — the money that comes out of the business over the course of a year — stood at $450,567, up from $348,853 in the third quarter of 2011.

"Since the recession hit in 2008, most sellers have been forced to settle for lower-than-expected sales prices," Handelsman said. "But as their business financials improve, more sellers are more confident, and it's paying off in the form of higher sale prices."

Nationally, the small businesses listed on had a median cash flow of $98,172 in the third quarter, an improvement from the $96,000 recorded in the third quarter of the previous year. The median price of businesses that were sold came in at $385,327, up from $377,981. Q3 selling trends in SLC

Median asking price • $383,500 vs. $230,000 in Q3 2011

Median revenue of businesses • $450,567 vs. $348,853

Median cash flow • $450,567 vs. $348,853

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