ALL NEWS

Priced Out: How did the Utah housing market get so expensive?

Apr 12, 2021, 5:00 AM | Updated: Apr 13, 2021, 9:21 am
Utah housing market priced out...
(PHOTO: Canva)
(PHOTO: Canva)

Editorial note: This is part one of a series on affordable housing, called “Priced Out.” You can see the other parts of our coverage here

SALT LAKE CITY — Prices in the Utah housing market have skyrocketed even during the pandemic – great for homeowners and landlords, but anyone trying to buy a home or rent an apartment is having a tough time. 

In the first part of  KSL Newsradio’s series Priced Out,  we look at what’s pushing Utah’s red-hot housing market.

Has the Utah housing market been overtaken by Californians? 

Can we blame people moving here from California with buckets of cash for pushing up rents and home prices? Utah Foundation researched that question, and Senior Research Analyst Christopher Collard said it’s more the result of people from Utah who didn’t leave.

“So people stopped leaving Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake City metro area at the same rates they had over previous years, y’know, back to 2015,” Collard told KSL-TV, and that put some additional pressure on the housing markets.”

Why so high, then? Turns out Utah’s strong economy over many years is responsible for the long-term growth in housing prices. James Wood is a senior fellow at the University of Utah’s Gardner Institute. He says it’s now reaching a fever pitch.

“The last 8 months have been the most heated period that I’ve seen in almost fifty years of following the market,” Wood told KSL Newsradio.

Pricing low-wage workers out of the housing market

The net result is that low-wage workers are priced out of the market. Typical rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Salt Lake City today is about 12-hundred dollars. If affordable is defined as paying no more than one-third of your income for housing, Tara Rollins with the Utah Housing Coalition says low-wage workers – those making 30-percent of the area median income (AMI) – are hit the hardest.

“We have 70% of people pay more than 50% of their income to housing,” Rollins said. “When you get up to the 50% of AMI, we have 27% paying more than 50% of their income.”

Even with a moratorium on evictions during the pandemic, it’s been tough for workers in that pay range to find and stay in an apartment.

Those earning a higher income are struggling too

Finding a place to live isn’t simple even for professionals with higher incomes. Ryan Rhodes moved to Utah from Illinois a couple of years ago.

“I eventually signed for an apartment in Marmalade, so just west of Capitol Hill, so that was really nice.”

This year, Ryan and his husband have been working to become homeowners, and got into a situation with several potential buyers submitting competing bids for the same property. We’ll have more on that in upcoming segments of our series Priced Out: Finding an Affordable Home in Utah. 

Related reading:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Thousands of fraudulent nursing diplomas  were dispersed in Florida. (Canva)...
Associated Press via Miami Herald

Fake nursing diploma scheme in Florida; 25 arrested

The defendants each face up to 20 years in prison.
11 hours ago
A bill making its way through the Utah legislative session this year wants to promote Utah's extrem...
Allessandra Harris

SB 151 would exempt certain businesses from farmer’s market regulations

Under S.B.151, minor producers would not be required to tell consumers their food is not officially licensed by the state.
11 hours ago
Sen. Nate Blouin, D-Salt Lake, left, and Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake, speak at a press conferenc...
Lindsay Aerts

Bill to set target water level for the Great Salt Lake dries up

The bill proposed by Sen. Nate Blouin, would set a target elevation goal at 4.198 feet. However, the bill died in committee.
11 hours ago
Police are looking for a shooting suspect, after a man was found with a critical gunshot wound in S...
Kate Davis and Simone Seikaly

One man wounded, suspect on the run after Glendale shooting

Glendale police said the shooting happened Wednesday night near 1665 South Riverside Drive, not far from the Jordan River.
11 hours ago
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA, USA - FEBRUARY 2: Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Tuesday  morning 6 more wee...
Scottie Andrew, CNN

The bizarre history of Groundhog Day

So how did Groundhog Day go from a kooky local tradition to an annual celebration even those of us who don't worry about winter can find the fun in?
11 hours ago
Indian billionaire Gautam Adani, pictured here, in Ahmedabad India on April 2, 2014 abandoned a dea...
By Mark Thompson, CNN

Adani scraps $2.5 billion share sale as value of his empire collapses

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani on Wednesday abandoned a deal to raise $2.5 billion from investors after a week-long meltdown in the value of his logistics and energy business empire that started when an American short seller accused the conglomerate of fraud.
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Priced Out: How did the Utah housing market get so expensive?