SALT LAKE CHAMBER: Utah’s Housing Gap Coalition Challenge

Salt Lake Chamber issued the following announcement on Jan. 14.

What is the housing gap?

For the first time in 40 years, Utah has more households than available housing units. This creates a serious threat to our state’s economic prosperity. Land is becoming scarce in metro areas close to jobs, the labor market is tight and current local policies have limited the number of housing projects brought to market. This means the average Utah family is struggling with a gap between their housing needs and affordable options. While we have a strong housing market, many of us don’t have a clear understanding of the issues at play.

Utah’s population has doubled in the past 30 years and will double again by 2050. Only a third of population growth is due to people moving to the state – our increasing family numbers contribute to the other two-thirds. Since 1991, Utah’s housing prices have increased at a faster rate than housing in San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle.

However, housing affordability affects more than just homebuyers. All three housing markets are strained: existing homes, rentals and new construction. These conditions caused single-family and rental prices to increase up to 8 percent last year. Since 2010, Utah has added four new households for every three new housing units. That means we’ll need 54,000 additional housing units to close the housing gap.

How does it affect me?

Whether you currently own a home or are looking to buy or rent in the future, rising housing prices affect Utahns at all stages of life. In 25 years, with a nominal annual price increase of 5 percent, median Utah home prices could increase to $800,000. The more expensive homes become, the further Utahns will have to live from their workplaces. Tackling Utah’s housing gap is about the future of your kids, grandkids and aging parents. In order to keep families together, we need to solve Utah’s Housing Gap.

In addition to rising housing costs, growing population places a strain on water availability, impacts air quality and increases commute times, so responsible growth and wise utilization of resources will help preserve our high quality of life.

We want to make sure that Utahns at every stage in life have communities they love at prices we all can afford.

What can I do?

How can you help solve Utah’s Housing Gap? Start saying yes to well-planned growth. Encourage your local elected officials to support diverse housing options for every stage of life.

Utah’s Housing Gap Coalition supports plans and developments that build and preserve desirable communities with:

• A healthy mix and balance of housing types

• A variety of options for transportation (biking, walking, transit – in addition to driving).

• Opportunities for recreation and preserved open space

• Well-planned, efficient infrastructure that will integrate well with existing communities

• Reasonable commute times and access to good jobs

By working in unison, we can solve the state’s housing problem and help preserve the communities we love with housing prices we can all afford.

Original source can be found here.

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