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Affordable housing in Utah hard to come by for first-time buyers

Feb 15, 2021, 3:46 PM | Updated: 4:47 pm
Affordable Housing Utah...
(Photo: John Raoux / Associated Press / File)
(Photo: John Raoux / Associated Press / File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Affordable housing in Utah is hard to come by, and first-time buyers are having an especially difficult time. The median price of homes on the Wasatch Front is just under $400,000, something most first-time buyers can’t afford. 

Urban Utah real estate broker Babs DeLay reports first-time buyers are looking on the west side of Salt Lake City for affordable housing. However, the buyers are also taking their search to communities miles away. 

“So they’re having to go to, really, suburbs like Magna, Tooele, Grantsville, up north, Ogden,” DeLay said. They’re also searching in the western part of Weber County and northern Utah County in Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs. 

DeLay revealed first-time buyers often find themselves bidding against investors who have been snapping up properties.

With interest rates as low as 1.9% for a 15-year loan, DeLay believes it’s almost like buyers are getting free money. 

However in Utah, lower interest rates result in a higher price for properties. DeLay disclosed that first-time buyers then find themselves depleted of cash they were hoping to use for home improvements. 

Ultimately, DeLay is worried high prices for homes and rentals will lead to increased homelessness in Utah. She believes community and government leaders need to “put heads together and really make a map of how we can get to affordable housing in the future without cutting out so many people.” 

Last year, a Utah Senate committee passed a bill that would spend $35 million to try to solve the state’s affordable housing crisis.

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