Migration from California, other states still a huge factor in Utah’s rising rent prices

Dec 28, 2023, 2:00 PM

Rent signs are placed at a home in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 10, 2023. Rent prices are droppin...

FILE: Rent signs are placed at a home in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 10, 2023. (Scott G Winterton/ Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton/ Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY— Utah’s rapid growth is not slowing down, and Californians are still leading the mass influx of people moving to the Beehive State.

According to Census Bureau data compiled by the Utah Rental Housing Association, Utah had more than 91,000 new move-ins in 2022. Roughly 20% of them, well over 18,000, moved from California.

Utah’s next highest migration point was from Washington state, with a little over 9% of the total move-ins — over 8,800 people.

The rest of the top 10 is as follows:

3. Idaho – over 7,700 new move-ins.

4. Texas- over 7,000.

5. Arizona- over 5,300.

6. Colorado- over 5,300.

7. Nevada- over 3,500.

8. Florida- over 3,000.

9. Oregon- about 2,400.

10. New York- over 2,200.

Growth and rent in Utah

The basic economic principle of supply and demand is on full display in Utah when it comes to growth and high rent prices. More move-ins create a higher demand for housing, which drives up prices.

In a 2022 report by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, data showed that the average cost of an apartment in Salt Lake County in 2010 was $939 a month.

By 2020, it was $1,213 a month.

In 2022, it grew to $1,534 a month. That’s a $321 increase over two years. That same average apartment’s rent only rose $135 from 2000 to 2010.

The average cost of an apartment in Davis County in 2010 was $864 a month. In 2022, it reached $1,452 a month.

For Utah County in 2010, the average cost of rent was $1,000 a month. In 2022, it reached $1,475 a month.

Weber County was and still is the cheapest of the four major counties along the Wasatch Front to rent, at an average of $821 monthly in 2010. In 2022 though, that cost reached $1,380 a month.

To put it all in perspective, from 2020 to 2022, all four counties saw their average rent increase by at least $260 a month, most closer to $300.

The same four counties saw their average rent increase between only $91 and $135 a month for the entire ten-year span of 2000 to 2010.

Future outlook

According to the Rental Housing Association of Utah, today’s higher mortgage rates are adding increased pressure to the demand for rental housing. With rates where they are today, the association said it’s 52% more expensive to own a home versus renting.

To further add to the problem, Utah has been battling a housing shortage for years.

According to Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute data complied by the RHAU, Utah was able to cut a 2017 shortage of 56,000 units in half to 28,000 units as of 2022. But, that number is expected to grow again in 2024 with fewer homes expected to be built.

In short, relief for renters may not be coming anytime soon, with all factors continuing to add to the surging demand for rentals throughout the Beehive State.


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Migration from California, other states still a huge factor in Utah’s rising rent prices