“Priced out and Fed Up”: survey finds issues with housing affordability

Apr 30, 2024, 5:00 PM

A neighborhood under construction in North Salt Lake....

Homes are pictured in North Salt Lake on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Housing affordability is the number-one issue on the minds of Utah voters, according to a new report.

According to this year’s Utah Priorities Project report from the Utah Foundation, more than 60% of Utahns surveyed said their quality of life is worse now compared to the early days of the pandemic, or even during the Great Recession.

The Utah Priorities Project, which has been running since 2004, surveys voters about their top concerns.

The Utah Foundation, an organization focused on public policy research, administers the survey every four years.

Housing availability and affordability

Previous Utah Priorities Project surveys included housing affordability, but this is the first time it was ranked number one. 

Utah Foundation President Shawn Teigen said he thinks building more homes could help with that issue.

“There’s some movement in perhaps the right direction there,” Teigen said, “I think that will go a long way.”

Related: Unwelcome Home: Exploring the challenges of buying a home in Utah

Teigen also shared that the issue particularly affects first-time home buyers.

“People who are either not in homes but want to move into them,” Teigen said, “and parents who would love to see their kids someday live here but are concerned that they’re not going to have the money to put a down payment on a house.”

He said while many other housing markets have seen some stability, in Utah, “We really experienced something that is particularly scary for a lot of people.”

More issues facing Utah residents

Among the top five issues listed in the report, the cost of other non-housing needs ranks at number three.

Along with the cost of living, voters also voiced concern with various forms of political dysfunction. The rest of the top five issues were people feeling like politicians don’t listen to them, government overreach and partisan politics. 

More than 60% of Utah voters surveyed said they believed Utah was on the wrong track.

Some other major priorities listed in the survey were the availability of water, K-12 education and air quality. 

“With the pandemic in the rearview mirror, Utah voters have refocused their attention back to issues that had been emerging pre-pandemic,” the report said.

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“Priced out and Fed Up”: survey finds issues with housing affordability