Housing crisis in Park City about to get a lot worse

Oct 19, 2022, 7:00 AM

It’s about to get even harder to find a place to live in Park City and the surrounding area....

( Frazer Harrison /Getty Images)

( Frazer Harrison /Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s about to get even harder to find a place to live in Park City and the surrounding area. International students with J-1 cultural exchange visas—who work at the resorts—are allowed back into the country for the first time since the pandemic. 

And now they have more competition when looking for a place to live. 

CEO of the Christian Center of Park City Rob Harter said there are just not as many places to rent since the start of the pandemic. 

“That small pool of available homes and apartments just got down to almost nothing it feels like,” Harter said.  “And what we’re hearing from J-1s is there’s just not much of anything available.”

Harter said this is partly because more people want to live in Park City. 

Who’s to blame?

City leaders say Airbnb rentals carry a lot of the blame. 

“People can make more money using their homes as short-term rentals as opposed to long-term,” said Mayor Nann Worel. 

Only 15 percent of the city’s workforce actually lives in Park City, according to Mayor Worel.  Harter said he’s hearing about students with J-1 visas coming to work during the ski season and getting taken advantage of. 

“We’ve had cases of this I’ve heard from people in the city. That they’re renting out basically what turns out to be a closet,” Harter said.  “Or they’re renting out a space for say 6-8 international students. But there are only like two beds. So a lot of them are on the ground. ” 

As for solutions, the Mayor says they are looking at ways to incentivize homeowners and businesses. 

We’ve got to find more housing stock,” Mayor Worel said. 

Harter’s group, the Christian Center of Park City, is working to connect people with legitimate housing options. 

“But it’s getting more and more difficult because there’s just not many places to choose from,” Harter said. 

Park City Mountain Resort tells KSL Newsradio in a statement that they have leased spots for 441 of their own employees for this season. 

Statement from PCMR

We are thrilled about our master lease for employee housing, which will secure housing at the base of Canyons Village for 441 Park City Mountain employees beginning with the 22/23 winter season. While we’re still working on the allocation process, we know that every additional employee housing unit makes a difference in the big picture of housing affordability in Park City. Overall, Vail Resorts is working hard to address shifting workforce needs through competitive wages, comprehensive benefits and perks, HR support, and thinking holistically about the employee experience, including housing, career development, and more. Housing availability is essential for the sustainability and vitality of all resort communities, as well as our business. Our goal with all of our wage and housing investments is a fully staffed, engaged and supported team.”

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Housing crisis in Park City about to get a lot worse