SOUTHERN UTAH

Southern Utah homebuilders to test the waters on dense housing

Apr 2, 2024, 10:01 AM | Updated: 10:07 am

Grey homes are pictured in Lehi, Utah....

New homes in the Cold Spring Ranch community are pictured in Lehi on Thursday, March 28, 2024. (Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

ST. GEORGE, Utah – An initiative from Utah’s Capitol Hill has set a new housing goal to build 35,000 new starter homes in only five years. Some homebuilders in Southern Utah are giving the steep goal a shot with dense housing. 

That’s eight homes per hour, according to The Housing Advocate podcast

“We do have a couple of builders here who have been working in that segment of the market,” says Stacy Young with Southern Utah’s Home Builder’s Association. “So maybe it seems like we’re on the leading edge of it.”

The dense housing starter homes could range from condos to duplexes or townhomes. Young said the type will depend on land price, but their location isn’t specific to one part of the city. One of the initiative’s big goals is to give starting homeowners an affordable chance.

Urbanization and a demand on constrained supply have made home-buying nearly impossible for first-timers.

“I think a lot of us have family who would like to live on their own, but they’re still stuck at home because they can’t afford housing. This is an attempt to take some of the pressure off,” said Young.

Last year, homes sat around $450,000 following the homebuyers’ assistance fund.  The rough goal for future starter units sits around $350,000. Supply chains broke down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Young said that Utah’s housing market faces an uphill battle.

“It’ll take multiple years of high-construction activity to get back to a balanced market,” Young said. “To be realistic… it’s going to take about five years before we see significant headway.”

Despite the long game, Young still has hope. He said the governor’s support is cause for optimism.

“We’re going to be doing everything we can to try to improve the situation for homebuyers, especially the starter-home segment.”

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Southern Utah homebuilders to test the waters on dense housing