Utah rent prices surge, experts weigh in on potential housing solutions

Apr 6, 2023, 1:00 PM | Updated: Jan 5, 2024, 2:49 pm

a for sale sign is pictured, utah housing is still too expensive for most...

A realty sign at a property in the Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY— While Utah’s ballooning housing market is often a talking point, to no one’s surprise the renters market has gone up right alongside it.

New data from The University of Utah Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute says rental costs have jumped up about 34 to 41% between Salt Lake, Davis and Utah Counties since 2018. Weber County rent costs grew more than 63% in the same timeframe.

Thursday, Kem C. Gardner and The Salt Lake Tribune hosted a roundtable discussion on the state’s rental market to talk about what might alleviate the burden of rising costs.

The panel included Utah Senator Nate Blouin, Cowboy Partners and Cowboy Properties CEO Dan Lofgren, Kem C. Gardner Senior Research Fellow Dejan Eskic and Utah Housing Coalition Executive Director Tara Rollins.

In the conversation, speakers hit on topics ranging from the role of local government, services to struggling renters and zoning.

Eskic brought up the idea of speeding up the process to build affordable housing units.

“You hit all the checkmarks…permits…and that speeds up the process,” Eskic said. ” I think one of the most challenging issues right now is timing.”

Eskic also touched on zoning laws around the country that have especially negatively impacted minority households.

“After the civil rights act…we divided up our cities,” Eskic said. “Your zip code is more determinant of your future wealth creation than almost anything.”

As of last year it costed families more than $1,400 a month to rent in Davis and Weber Counties, over $1,500 a month in Utah County and north of $1,600 a month in Salt Lake County.

Utah has 333,000 renting households.

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Utah rent prices surge, experts weigh in on potential housing solutions