Rumors are starting to circulate alleging the reason Utah housing prices are skyrocketing is that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is attempting to control who lives here.
It may be easy to believe such hyperbole in our current state of hyper conspiracy theories where we seek only to spew forth vitriol against anything we disagree with rather than validate claims or do our own research. Fortunately, even a cursory look at market activity will show the reality is far easier to understand.
While complex, I see home prices are primarily impacted by the demand created by Utah’s strong economy, her beautiful natural and cultural environment, the rise in remote working, and the impact of the worldwide pandemic of material goods.
Let’s see what others have to say.
IMPACT OF THE WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC ON HOUSING
“Homes sales along the Wasatch Front and in other pockets of the state have rebounded dramatically after what proved to be a milder-than-expected slowdown as the coronavirus first took hold in the spring. This is a market bounce with the potential to buoy Utah’s economy, driven in part by people who can now work from anywhere and those looking to get closer to nature. It’s also driven by historically low interest rates and Utah’s best-in-country unemployment rate” (Salt Lake Tribune, SEP 9, 2020).
“The collision of a ravaging pandemic, which shut down manufacturing plants, and rising import costs from Canada have nearly tripled the cost of a 2-by-4-inch stud. The spike adds about $24,386 to the cost of a new, single-family home, according to the National Association of Home Builders” (Deseret News, MAR 21, 2021).
UTAH: THIS THIS IS THE PLACE
In Tier 1 large cities Utah had three in the top 10.
“The Milken Institute, a non-profit think tank based in Santa Monica California, releases a ranking each year for the best performing cities based on “GDP growth, wage increase, job creation,” and other factors. Comparing over 400,000 metropolitan areas, it may well surprise people that Utah has three cities in their top ten ranking this year. Provo-Orem was ranked at number one, with Salt Lake City following closely behind at number four, and Ogden-Clearfield jumping into the top ten at number nine” (Utah Business Magazine, MAR 11, 2021).
In Tier 2 small cities, Utah had two in the top 10, including the area where I live in Logan, Utah, at #2.
“Idaho Falls, Idaho moved up six spots to rank No. 1 among small cities. The area’s high-tech industry presence – which includes employers like the Idaho National Laboratory and Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC – drove job growth and contributed to its strong performance. Following are Logan, Utah-Idaho at No. 2; The Villages, Florida at No. 3; and St. George, Utah at No. 4. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Alabama moved up nine rankings to round out the top 5. Overall, these cities benefit from high levels of job and wage growth” (Business Wire FEB 2, 2021).
HEALTHY ECONOMIC POLICY
“The Utah Legislature closed its 2021 session this month with budget surpluses, record spending and a round of tax cuts. The state’s gross domestic product — among the broadest measures of economic performance — is now expected to grow this year by about 6.2%”
“Utah has been leader in telecommuting, with large shares of adults working remotely from home. Nearly half said they live in households where one or more members altered their routines to telework, according to weekly U.S. census surveys. Only the District of Columbia has had a higher share of teleworking households week to week” (Salt Lake Tribune, MAR 21, 2021).
Image by Sharon Kehl Califano from Pixabay