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Is There Hope for Future Homeowners in Utah? New Report Details Scope of Problem, Potential in Middle Housing

Posted By Regional Development
November 17, 2021

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A new housing report was released as the first in a series serving as a "Guide to Expanding Options for Utah Homebuyers and Renters," by Utah Foundation on Tuesday.

The report, which Salt Lake County Regional Development was a partner on, provides context on just how large the scope of the housing challenge is in Utah — and in Salt Lake County. It examines Utah’s housing problem and introduces Missing Middle Housing as one solution to address it.

Among the key findings are that a staggering 80% of Utahns surveyed in September 2021 feel home prices and rents are too high.

Another key finding saw 90% of survey respondents worried about housing costs, but even more so for young Utahns’ housing costs. Paired with the fact that while the younger population is expected to shrink in percentage, the number of young households is expected to grow in sheer numbers. This clearly shows a need for entry-level housing options at prices they can afford. 

"Middle housing is a possible answer in terms of prices," the report states. "For instance, in Salt Lake County, the August 2021 median (or middle) sale price of townhomes was $390,000, while for single-family homes, the median sale price was $546,450."

Middle housing — or Missing Middle Housing in Utah's case — is house-scale multi-unit housing and incorporates naturally into neighborhoods in ways that encourage walkability for residents with a variety of incomes.

A Housing Solution?

According to the report, middle housing may help relieve some of the issues such as lack of stock of housing, costs, and more. Apartments are not entirely the answer when seeking ownership, but single-family home costs are simply not attainable for many in Utah's market. The guide suggests:

  • Middle housing could provide a greater range of price points for sale or rent
  • Because middle housing often doesn’t include luxury amenities common with large developments, prices are typically less 
  • Because these structures are house-scale, costs can be lower per square foot because the materials and construction parameters are more simple than high rise structures.

Upcoming Series Installments

Utah Foundation’s reports historically look at how Utah can continue to grow, while improving quality of life and maintaining local fiscal health.

Additional reports in this Middle Housing series will be released in the following months and detail:

  • Middle housing and where it is located in the State; 
  • Utahns’ housing preferences; and
  • Obstacles and opportunities to increase the availability of middle housing.

Download and read Part 1 of the Missing Middle Housing Report.