Research shows housing becoming less affordable along Wasatch Front

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  • mrjj69 bountiful, UT
    April 9, 2018 5:33 p.m.

    This problem will only get worse, unless for some reason the economy goes bust.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    April 9, 2018 12:27 p.m.

    I'm looking at the plan for cities of Zion starting in 1833 when the original vision was set down.

    The city when fully built was to be a mile square, public buildings at the center and farmlands etc extending from the perimeter. The furthest street north, south, east or west would, in this plan, be four blocks, or half a mile, from the center. No one need travel more than about a half mile to a school or temple. Every home would be built on a half acre lot.

    Some examples of this may still be seen, I believe, in many parts of Utah, but Salt Lake City somewhere along the line, adopted the ugly vision of a soulless industrial conurbation or urban sprawl that was the typical of an American city.

    In LA, San Francisco, New York, and many other notable towns we have the same problems, with people not able to afford a home partly b'c of the pressure on available space being so great. After drug abuse, high rents have led to "tent cities" in such areas, with no sanitation, and relatively high exposure to the elements.

    This is a great and important subject, worthy the attention of public-spirited people everywhere.

  • quackquack Park City, UT
    April 9, 2018 8:26 a.m.

    These are the growing pains of trying to turn Utah into a Megalopolis, Many Utahans hate Californians, but Utah is slowly turning into Cali. Try buying a 2000 sq foot house in LA 1.2 million for something that would cost 500K in Utah.

  • UtahnAbroad Sandy, UT
    April 9, 2018 7:54 a.m.

    @Harrison Bergeron
    The last recession was caused by deregulation of the banks, something started under Clinton and continued under Bush. Don't make this a partisan issue. Both parties have done their part to screw up the economy.

  • Millenial Snow Sandy, UT
    April 9, 2018 7:52 a.m.

    Millennial are in such trouble. I look at my cohort and are a bit shocked at how many well educated, hard working people will never claw their way to the American Dream.

    Housing, healthcare, childcare, university - they are all much more expensive than they were 20 years ago. Don't be surprised when the millennial generation have only 1-2 grandchildren and have to move to the midwest to afford a house.

    The American Dream is out of reach for a large portion of people, and yet we need tax cuts for the 1%. What a joke.

  • SMcloud Sandy, UT
    April 9, 2018 7:46 a.m.

    More high density townhouses and condos downtown and at every trax stop would be a great start. There is a glut of high end houses and nothing right now for the middle class.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2018 10:46 p.m.

    It doesn't take a study or rocket scientist to know housing prices are climbing faster than wages. Like many places who will be driven out are young people trying to pay off their educations and still be able to afford a home. Also, natives as those coming in from the outside are helping to drive up the cost of housing. We should be doing everything we can to keep from becoming another LA, Seattle, and other cities with high homeless rates and lack of affordable housing. Even low-income housing isn't really low-income housing. If you make $75,000 a year, you can afford a $263,325-$352,000 home. In Salt Lake County that almost puts you in the ghetto and more unsafe parts of town. Many homes in Salt Lake County are more in the $675,000-750,000 range. That means you need to make around $150,000 a year. How many Utah families make that every year?

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 8, 2018 8:41 p.m.


    Define affordable. What is affordable to someone making minimum wage versus someone who makes 75k a year is entirely different.

    Also, no one is forcing anyone to buy or rent at these higher prices. I want to move but the market is crazy and instead of having the mentality I have to have it right now I am going to wait it out and save money. If the buyers and renters would have patience the market would cool down.

  • erikpeterhansen Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2018 2:29 p.m.

    This is not about houses, this is about housing. My friends and I can't all get housing (rentals) and it took 3 months of couch surfing just to get into a place that cost half my income. This happened three years ago. I'm sure I will get the response, "Well you have to earn more money or get a roommate." from the self-satisfied along the Wasatch. Well, why can't I get an apartment and afford it on a small salary? Because it is truly not affordable of course and I expected better from this valley. Oh, I'm not supposed to complain or I should move elsewhere. What attitudes of compassion and aid are needed here too. Utah is a Christian State? More likely is full of modern Capitalism worshipers.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    April 8, 2018 1:24 p.m.

    @search diligently

    Sorry that is not what I said. If I had the means to do so, enough to influence prices, I would bid the market down to help reduce hardship caused by predatory practice, those who would squeeze the last penny out of anyone for personal aggrandizement and the love of money which, it has been truly observed, is the root of all evil.

    I have always liked to give a buyer -of anything I wished to sell - a good bargain. I still benefit. Occasionally people do, from a spirit of 'goodwill to all men', use their means to bless people not to inflict misery on them.

    On the odd occasions I have put a house up for sale I have looked at other homes in the area and then made a significant reduction to what I could get. When I buy a home I am also willing to pay the asking price if I think it is fair, preferring not to haggle.

    This is not the same as an employer paying the least possible. How on earth did you come up with that? it's the opposite. In the same spirit of goodwill I would pay a worker the most I could and still profit. If he were hardworking, loyal and able, I would give him decent regular raises. If he was idle I would fire him.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    April 8, 2018 12:57 p.m.

    This article takes a parochial view. Metro Salt Lake/ Utah County is really quite competitive if you are looking to locate here.

    In Seattle, they slice up the land into 0.12 acre lots, leaving you with a postage stamp sized yard on a slope. Standard lots around here are two to three times that size.

    Property taxes here are dirt cheap. I think they rank about 36th in the nation.

    State income tax is NOT competitive.

    Utah ranks 41 in violent crime rates.

    Educational achievement is good, considering the pay. Utah is 10th in high school grad rates.

    You put it all together and it looks pretty good.

    I'm always puzzled when a business reporter doesn't factor in the demand curve. They seem to imply the need for some social engineer to "fix the problem." Do they not understand economics? Or are they progressive, looking for some government remedy?

    April 8, 2018 11:53 a.m.

    Im surprised nobody has commented on the most obvious...

    Stock markets, debt service, housing markets, etc... all speculative markets go up and inevitably go down. Just as in 2008, experts and most everyone else said this trend is sustainable and fundamentally sound.

    The government simply pushed the can down the road in 2008. Handing out billions to banks, dropping interest rates into the gutter, accruing astronomical heights in debt service. Nothing has been fixed, nothing resolved, exacerbated the problem.

    Wash, rinse, repeat. When the big boys decide to tighten credit, all markets are going to turn and turn quickly. Our economy as a whole is 100% predicated upon debt and our ability to assume debt. When credit is tightened or limited, buying and selling ceases and all prices and values of financed items come crashing down. Homes, cars, boats, stocks, etc will decrease in price precipitously.

    Don't know when the correction, recession or crash will happen. But rest assured it will happen. It may be more mild or it could be life altering with generational impact.

  • Makimb2 Slc, UT
    April 8, 2018 11:26 a.m.

    We are so far away from meeting demand, we are the fastest growing city in the country. We can't build homes or apartments fast enough. I don't see a bubble popping for awhile based on the fact that we have low unemployment and high demand with low supply along with extreme population growth.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    April 8, 2018 11:16 a.m.

    Why all the hand-wringing because of the law of supply and demand? If you cannot afford to buy a house, then you need to go elsewhere so you can afford one. Houses in Brashear, Missouri are a lot cheaper than they are in San Francisco, CA.

    Despite the attempts of SLC's unrealistic mayor, there is no repeal of this law of Supply and Demand. House prices will continue to go up in Salt Lake County because of limited supply of housing compared to the folks who want to live here. Eventually the politicians will comprehend the futility of throwing your tax dollars at so-called 'affordable housing'. However, that isn't likely before they waste millions upon million of your tax dollars. . .

  • Husker2 Aspen, CO
    April 8, 2018 10:44 a.m.

    We moved to Utah County over a decade ago when house prices were reasonable. Now my kids are graduating high school and they can’t afford to live on their own. Looks like we made a mistake coming here.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2018 9:59 a.m.

    Considering the explosion of apartment building in central SLC, a great deal of speculative investment money is being spent. The law of supply and demand will be disrupted by these speculators' demand for a high return on their investment. NYC has demonstrated that regulated housing has many negative affects on apartment development so a reasonable answer is yet to be found.

  • mamamia Provo, UT
    April 8, 2018 9:55 a.m.

    Houses are overpriced. Too much construction going on. What goes up, must come down.
    Just saying.

  • Flipphone Sandy, UT
    April 8, 2018 9:43 a.m.

    There are Jobs that are located in smaller communities were housing is less expensive some of these jobs are in healthcare service provides, and retail.

    Also, many professionals are allowed to telecommute.

  • search diligently Lehi, UT
    April 8, 2018 9:34 a.m.

    This is a tough situation for so many, and I sympathize with them. but the solution is not as Gildas suggests "To me a free market means that I can sell a home as cheaply as I want to and still make a modest profit." I find it hard to believe that Gildas or anyone would sell their home as cheaply as possible. That is nonsense. No one does that nor are they morally responsible to do so. Anyone who believes in this ideology should also be asking their employer to pay the lowest possible wage they can modestly live on.

    We can be glad Utah did not play the silly game of underwriting the megaprofit company Amazon to move here. Had they done so, it would have greatly increased the problem. We can be grateful we are not going to be the host of such nonsense as other cities who are still in that game. Amazon and other such companies do not need public support in order to increase their multi-billion dollar annual profits for shareholders.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 8, 2018 9:28 a.m.


    Why should take sellers take less money? Buyers are under no obligation to purchase a home for a price they feel is outrageous.

    If buyers would have patience this market would cool down but they don’t and feel they have to have a House right now. Even worse is when buyers get into a bidding war.

  • Astoria Jim Mamaroneck, NY
    April 8, 2018 8:37 a.m.

    Talking about how wages have not kept pace in Utah, here's a possibly politically incorrect theory I'd like to present and see if it gains agreement or argument.

    During my career in communications, I occasionally heard that companies in two metro areas could offer less than generous salaries, because two groups of people would be willing to accept lower incomes to work there because they would feel more comfortable there than in any other major metro.

    The areas were San Francisco and Salt Lake City. And the reasons employers in these areas could supposedly offer lower salaries is because gay people would work for less money to live in San Francisco, and LDS members would work for less money to live in Salt Lake City.

    Indeed, Goldman Sachs' second largest employee base is in Salt Lake City.

    I admit my theory may not hold water, and a member of my own family might be proof; my son is a Catholic heterosexual, and he occasionally mentioned that Salt Lake might be a great place to live for a reason totally unrelated to faith:


  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    April 8, 2018 7:38 a.m.

    There are many smaller towns where there are jobs that will support a family where housing is affordable. It wouldn't work for a mass exodus of city residents to small communities, but families who are struggling should consider the option of looking for jobs where homes can be found for under $100,000. One of the problems is that too many people think they have to be where there are sporting events, theaters, vast entertainment options and unlimited shopping opportunities. All those things make budgeting difficult. Especially in Utah, smaller communities are near hiking, biking and more laid-back opportunities for leisure time.

    Our granddaughter, a 2017 grad of BYU, took a human services job in a small community college town. She has affordable rural housing, which includes a pen for her dogs. She is far removed from frivolous shopping. She has noted that several coworkers were hired because the county is desperate for case managers. They don't like the work, but the jobs were available. There are many houses available in the area for people with moderate incomes.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    April 8, 2018 7:29 a.m.

    The problem is that landlords are gouging tenants and sellers are unduly maximizing profits with no regard to buyers.

    To me a free market means that I can sell a home as cheaply as I want to and still make a modest profit; I am not forced to take part in a Darwinian jungle fight with predators. We are not compelled to sell at the highest possible price. If I had my way and the means to do so, I would undercut the spiraling price of housing at such times, by personally selling at markedly less than the 'going price', and joining with like-thinking individuals to beat predatory practice.

    Freedom does not need to mean the increasing power of the most wealthy. I am not suggesting the government get involved in another program or create a special bureaucracy. A few good laws might, however be passed; that's what legislatures are for. They could stop insisting, for example, that homes should be a certain size, or deterring the use of solar power, yet without putting us into the tiny-est boxes possible, and could stop making rules that make it difficult for people to have an affordable home, to get out of debt and to stay out of debt.

  • Pooh Bear Saint Louis, MO
    April 8, 2018 7:09 a.m.

    All of this is one reason we recently left Utah. We considered adding to our existing home but that was outrageous - more expensive than building new. So,m we considered finding property to build on and that, too, was outrageous - investors, apparently many from CA, have snarfed up the usable property and are charging CA prices for a lot of it. High density housing is also ludicrous (we were in Herriman) - 5-6K square foot houses on a fifth of an acre with no yard and the ability to reach out of your side window and touch the houses on either side. It looks like Philadelphia row housing. No, thank you! Hello, Northwest Arkansas!

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    April 8, 2018 5:54 a.m.

    Fortunately, our elected officials are working hard to make Salt Lake and Utah County less desirable. Salt Lake wants to be like California.

    As for Happy Valley, the elected leaders are either corrupt or clueless. I'm not sure which. Either is unacceptable.

    Portlander will be OK up there in Seattle. Talk about a crazy market. You've got to dangle $10-20K above the asking price just to attract attention. Take the money and run. You'll come out just fine.

  • Mayfair Logan, UT
    April 8, 2018 12:19 a.m.

    "Research shows housing becoming less affordable along Wasatch Front"

    Hope a lot of money was not wasted on this 'research'.

    Because we all could have told them this terribly obvious fact.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    April 7, 2018 10:48 p.m.

    Not to worry. Before we know it, we'll have another democrat president, the economy will tank and housing will be once again "affordable."

    The problem then will be the same as it was last time when the housing market took a nose dive: if you don't have a job, it's hard to buy even an "affordable" house.

  • portlander Arlington, WA
    April 7, 2018 10:34 p.m.

    We are keeping an eye on situation there. We live north of Seattle, both with pretty good jobs, but retirement looms and "gramma" (my wife) hears the call to "be there" for our grandchild in the Utah Valley. We wanted to maybe by a "modular" home with upgraded appliances and so for. A real upscale unit made from a real basic model. We sure hope that option stays available for us for a few more years.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 7, 2018 8:12 p.m.

    The smart thing to do is just save up money and wait this market out. Buying now could potentially put you in a bad spot if the economy turns south and are overdue for a recession.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    April 7, 2018 7:09 p.m.

    Mobile homes are something that should be considered by people.

    Cities shouldn't be allowed to disallow apartment construction or mobile home parks. If cities won't cooperate the state should get involved.

    But or rest the least house that will comfortably accommodate you.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    April 7, 2018 5:09 p.m.

    You don't really need to do much research. Just ask anyone who rents.

    1200.00 per month and up.

    The problem is multi-faceted.

    MANY younger people, even when they get a decent paying job, don't know how long the job will last, so they don't dare buy a home.
    Many younger folks have such a mountain of student debt, that they don't dare take on even more.

    Then there's the cities who increasingly don't want "starter" homes.

    I understand WVC has a minimum 3000 sq. ft home size to get a building permit.
    They also won't allow expansion of any of the mobile home parks, which, by the way, are mostly pre-fab houses anyway since about 20 yrs. ago.

    Younger folks (at least many of them)don't even want McMansions. They are increasingly minimalists.

    The cities need to react to the situation, but I don't see them doing much of anything that is helpful to solve the problem.