Utah

Utah housing shortage headed from bad to worse

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  • Sego Lilly Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2017 6:20 p.m.

    Rents are too expensive for the people just starting out and for those who are just trying to find their final place to call home. We've always lived in apartments but after our last apartment manager we moved. We evidently had the wrong skin color. We considered moving into a town home but we couldn't get the funding. Wanted a condo but then we would have had HOA fees. We were able to find a house to buy and we love our new neighborhood. While it is a 10 minute walk to the bus stop I am within walking distance of church and Walmart. No loud neighbors except for July 4th and 24th. We do make it to our old neighborhood every so often and it's scary how many more apartment buildings are being built but they are too expensive even for someone on Section 8. While I believe that everyone needs a place to call home everyone needs to do their part to be a good neighbor. If you or someone you know is a vet and homeless look into getting a home loan. Just make sure you are pre-quilafied before looking for a new home. It will make getting a new home that much easier.

  • RunningRN St. George, UT
    March 18, 2017 9:43 a.m.

    We used to live in Utah County and I agree the prices are out of control. I certainly think we are in bubble territory. I see echoes this in in St. George too. The last 8 years of zero-interest rate at the Fed has led builders to concentrate on building houses on the high end, while neglecting affordable homes

  • Watcher1 Sandy, UT
    March 17, 2017 5:25 p.m.

    Utah politicians have pretty much sold the state out to the cheap-labor lobby, as championed and coordinated by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and others. It's the same old story: Employers want to pay the absolute lowest wages possible, and then let the taxpayers cover all the "fringe" benefits, like medical, dental, disability, education, etc., including all the "social service" subsidies for housing, food, etc. Every time some industry has a challenge, we're all supposed to bend (or ignore) sensible public policy and rush to fill their supposed vacuum. "So and so can't get the workers he wants!" Well guess what, so and so employees can't find the jobs or the careers they want either--but they still have to pay their taxes. Particularly now, too many jobs are part-time, low-paying, with no real career prospects anywhere in sight. It's time to stop the unfettered invasion of this nation, and time for folks to find ways of solving their challenges without gouging someone else.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    March 17, 2017 4:11 p.m.

    Facts missing in this story:
    1. 898 homes in pre foreclosure or available for auction in Salt Lake County.
    2. 2,415 existing homes available in Salt Lake County.
    3. 2,135 new homes available in Salt Lake County.

    The news articles would have more relevance, meaning and value if the articles were more complete and not just pointing to a position.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    March 17, 2017 3:11 p.m.

    UtahBlueDevil - Durham, NC
    March 16, 2017 10:01 p.m.
    Baloney. If what was being claimed were true, it would show up in the economics. And while home prices are rising in Utah, they are nothing compared to other parts of the country where there truly is housing shortages.

    Yes, but wages are not going up fast enough for people to find affordable housing along the Wasatch Front. It is ridiculous what houses are selling for with the average wages here. Shortage of affordable housing and greed are the problems.

  • PamFlinders Sandy, UT
    March 17, 2017 1:56 p.m.

    Well planned downtown housing that is integrated would really push Salt Lake City from being a commuter city to a functional downtown where people can live downtown. Instead of building out we should be planning upward.

    Not everyone wants a house with a yard. I know plenty of boomers who have sent the kids to college and look forward to getting rid of the lawn mower and downsizing to a nice condo.

  • Chancey Sandy, UT
    March 17, 2017 11:36 a.m.

    An increase in multi-family usually leads us out of a housing slump. We are still below pre-2008 housing start levels.

  • McTaylor Orem, UT
    March 17, 2017 11:33 a.m.

    I am confused why so many are calling baloney on this.
    My wife and I have been looking for a house for the past year (Salt Lake, Utah (north), and Davis counties). We have watched as house prices went up 10% in Sandy area in 2016 and are pricing us out (80's split levels are selling around $400k in our neighborhood-an older part of Sandy). Making around 50k (and saving almost half of that), we can't afford any houses east of I-15 in SL valley, or in northern Utah county. According to the Federal Bank, house prices in Utah are close to 10% above the highest point of the housing bubble (Q4 of 2007).

    It's crazy here in Utah. We have a few friends and family members who are in the same situation and are either renting or living with family until they can afford homes.

  • Brer Rabbit Spanish Fork, UT
    March 17, 2017 11:20 a.m.

    Oh No! The sky is falling, the sky is falling! The reason some folks are doubling up is because wages are low and others aren't even working. Still others aren't willing to accept what they can afford, and others want to start out with a 3,000 sq ft home comparable to what their parents own.

    The 2008 economic crisis was caused by people wanting more than they could afford. Are we headed there again? Claiming a shortage of workers is unjustified. When wages are high enough there will be plenty of workers, or is this justification for flooding the labor market with cheap illegal foreign workers?

  • Sandy Salt Lake City, UT
    March 17, 2017 11:11 a.m.

    I shared this with my spouse when i read it this morning -- he's in the construction industry -- reacted with disdain, like some of these commenters. On top of that I got an email from Zillow this morning telling me it's a buyer's market in my zip code (east side salt lake valley) -- Market temperature "Chilly" it said. How could this be if there's a shortage?

    I hope DNews will clarify.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    March 17, 2017 10:56 a.m.

    airnaut,
    "Seems like someone in the real estate industry is trying inflate prices via rumor.

    Like the old "bacon shortage" rumor that doubled bacon prices..."

    I completely agree. They also want to force cities to rezone areas to build new houses.

    It's all a preposterous rouse.

  • bshelt SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 17, 2017 10:42 a.m.

    Time to stop building out and start building up. Not everyone needs 1/2 acres with 4,000 sq ft. High rise living should be a big part of our planning instead of sprawl.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    March 17, 2017 10:11 a.m.

    @arand There is always someone who uses the logic (?) that we don't want to become like L.A. and it usually has to do with traffic congestion. Typically this specific comment is from someone from a more rural part of the State than right on the Wasatch Front. (Those on the Wasatch Front bemoan the sale of farm land for housing---see my previous post about that issue.)

    With respect to L.A. and traffic, it is physically IMPOSSIBLE for us to ever approach the size of L.A. or its traffic problems. (Although I admit UDOT is following California's poor example [for us, maybe good for them] with the HOV lanes, instead of the metro Phoenix area.) I suspect you haven't been to L.A. for a while. Fly in or out of LAX on a sunny day and sit by the window and actually look at what is there and you'll conclude we could NEVER reach that size. I guess it makes a good panic/desparation argument, though.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    March 17, 2017 9:56 a.m.

    Seems like someone in the real estate industry is trying inflate prices via rumor.

    Like the old "bacon shortage" rumor that doubled bacon prices...

  • stanfunky Salt Lake City, UT
    March 17, 2017 9:44 a.m.

    The shortage is for 'new' units, not existing homes being sold. Though the resale market is lower than usual on available units.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    March 17, 2017 9:27 a.m.

    Horror of horrors, people might have to buy a home that isn't brand new. (Eeew!)

    Let the invisible hand do its work.

    Note to reporters: Stop hanging around Chamber of Commerce luncheons.

  • arand Huntsville, u
    March 17, 2017 9:21 a.m.

    I would say enough is enough. We don't want to end up like Los Angeles where it takes an hour or two to get to work every day. We need to have the infrastructure in place first. Water is another factor. Just because we had a great snow season doesn't mean we will never have another drought. I know the State and Cities want more money but do we really want to ruin UT with over population? Also, don't forget about the smog situation, the gang situation and the homeless situation. We have to ask ourselves what are we really doing. Money is not everything, but it sure looks like it. Stop and think UT.

  • Michael Shea, MD Yuma, AZ
    March 17, 2017 9:11 a.m.

    Not enough skilled labor? I don't get it. There seems to be more than enough politicians.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 17, 2017 8:52 a.m.

    As someone who is in the construction industry, I can tell you that there is not a labor shortage.

    If there was a shortage; wages, benefits, and the treatment of construction professionals would have to be rising. This is not happening.

    I just recently tried to test the waters to see what I could get from different contractors and every single one of them complained about how they can not find anyone but their benefits were substandard or non-existent and they seriously were fighting me over a dollar on wage. Does this sound like contractors are desperate for employees if they are arguing over a dollar?

    My only regret was I should have asked for more money so I could have seen the look on their face. I suggest these contractors go to similar markets out of state and see what contractors are paying for quality skilled tradesmen. A skilled tradesmen can go to these markets and make 90k with benefits on a forty and basically have the same cost of living as they do here.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    March 17, 2017 8:33 a.m.

    The Salt Lake valley cannot house millions of people. There is a physical limit. There will never be a shortage of houses if you are willing to pay the money asked. This is fundamental economics at work. Something our politicians don't comprehend.

    We as a community are approaching the limit of population without significantly impacting our quality of life. This is not a crisis, but just reaching a realistic limit we would be wise not to exceed.

  • humbug Syracuse/Davis, UT
    March 17, 2017 8:29 a.m.

    Housing prices have increased to the point where first-time home buyers are being priced out of the market. This is not sustainable.

    I am wondering why everyone thinks we need to commute to Salt Lake City to work? This puts a lot of pressure on housing prices near Salt Lake.

    Why aren't we encouraging more work options in the Ogden area? Or, Brigham City? Or, Tremonton? There is land in these areas that could be built on for houses. If the jobs were in these cities, people could live there and have a short commute to work. Rather than so many who now commute to Salt Lake.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 17, 2017 8:26 a.m.

    They may not be building houses fast enough, but they sure are building apartment buildings like crazy.

    I've noticed there is an almost constant stream of huge apartment projects going on all along the TRAX line. I was wondering what the reason for that was, because it's phenominal the number of construction projects going on all along the TRAX line from Sandy 1st So (including the downtown area).

    The recent zoning change allowing bigger/heavier buildings along the TRAX line explains it. Building a single family dwelling in that area may not pay off for the developer, but a huge apartment building pays a lot.

    Most people who want a single-family McMansion don't want to live right next to the TRAX line rumbling them out of bed early in the morning.

    There's tons of construction going on right now (commercial and residential). If you are a construction worker that still can't get hired... you better give up.

    Home construction is probably not keeping up with demand because there is so much demand for these apartment building projects (which pay more for the developer).

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    March 17, 2017 8:02 a.m.

    1. I do not believe this is a "crisis", and I think developers are MAKING this a story.
    2. Trump is moving interest rates up.
    3. Salaries are not moving up.
    4. Good luck trying to build all that with NO cheap, experienced [illegal] labor you've grown accosted to for decades.

  • chickenlittle Salem, UT
    March 17, 2017 5:34 a.m.

    I moved to Utah four years ago. I've seen a lot of growth in Utah county. People move here I think because of the job market. But once your here, it's hard to find affordable housing. If you have family here then your lucky because you can stay with them. I love this state people are friendly. I just see that growth came to fast. Prices are to high for people starting out. Pollution is big here. I hate to see that what was once farm land is now being sold for commercial use.

  • Capsaicin Salt Lake City, UT
    March 17, 2017 4:58 a.m.

    People weren't meant to live on top of each other all up in each others' business. High density housing turns good neighborhoods into "the hood" and high crime areas. The less green space and more people, the more crime there is. Yet city zoning boards have near complete autonomy to shove residential and business up against watersheds, floodplains, and zone high density apartments, condos, and townhomes...where ever they want. It's sad because they (city management) see this as the only way to grow. The only thing that grows is human misery.

  • Utah Girl Vernal, UT
    March 17, 2017 3:15 a.m.

    It depends on where you are looking. Here in Vernal there are a LOT of vacant homes. Of course, the unemployment rate is about 12%, the last I heard, which is why there are many vacancies. And more businesses are closing...K-Mart, Payless Shoes, and a few other smaller businesses.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    March 17, 2017 2:23 a.m.

    I'll bet the foreclosure's from the last 8 years haven't hit the market. I'll bet that there is a lot of car repose and credit card dept default. I'll bet families are living together, hoping they can help each other. Ya would think the Meade could be trusted with truth.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    March 17, 2017 12:32 a.m.

    @Llew40 Sorry, but land owners have a right to sell their land for housing and not everyone wants to be a farmer for centuries; decades is long enough for some families. Plus, as families grow there is a greater need for housing. Wyoming is losing population right now, and Utah did too back when Norm Bangerter was Governor (in fact some of his family left Utah looking for work), so if you want to enjoy the wide open spaces into perpetuity, move to Wyoming.

    Regulations that hamper builders profits are minimum sized dwellings/lots, amount of exterior brick required, etc. Building permits are used to supplement the general fund. Making that an enterprise fund would save money but every local government loves that cash cow. And every builder wants to maximize his profits. Who is looking out for the poor mortgage holder? No one; not the builder, developer, city, realtor, or mortgage lender. They all want $$$.

    Planning regulations have become their own cesspool over the years. The un-elected City Planner has more authority and influence over what is built is a city than the Mayor. And if you think I'm wrong about that, ask those who deal with them on a regular basis.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    March 17, 2017 12:11 a.m.

    Stop inviting everyone to move to Utah. We don't need to build on every piece of open space we have.

  • SIMPLICITY Denver, CO
    March 16, 2017 11:44 p.m.

    This article is biased and propaganda. We are at or near the precipice of a housing crash. The last thing anyone should do is purchase another piece of real estate at these outrageous and unsubstantiated prices.

    The reason people are doubling up with friends and family is because they can't afford the crazy high prices. This next crash is going to make 2008 look like a picnic.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    March 16, 2017 10:47 p.m.

    Drive around town on shopping trips today (Provo & Springville) and counted over 50 for sale signs. Opps, I guess this shortage is only for townhomes and condos.

  • Llew40 Sandy, UT
    March 16, 2017 10:38 p.m.

    I've lived in the Salt Lake valley for over a decade and it saddens me that our last precious acres of open space and farmland is about to be eaten up by urban sprawl.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 16, 2017 10:01 p.m.

    Baloney. If what was being claimed were true, it would show up in the economics. And while home prices are rising in Utah, they are nothing compared to other parts of the country where there truly is housing shortages. If Utah has anything, it is lots of open land. Not water, but land.

    This is purely a scam by the builders association to further do what they have done so far, built communities with little planning. To blame the problem on zoning.... or building regulations. Somehow other places they seem to be able to deal with the issue. Sure building and planning can be a hurdle, but that is why you get paid the margins you get on these homes you build. If it were "easy", any dim wit with a hammer could be out there being a "builder"

    Stop blaming the government for your business issues. Everyone in every industry has to deal with issues. This is just a bunch of whinny builders trying to leverage their buddies in city hall to do what is easy for them, and not what is right for the communities they build in. Be creative for once.