utah housing marketBy now, it’s no surprise: Utah’s housing market has been among the hottest in the nation for the past several years, driving up prices for both home buyers and renters. 2018, however, was unexpected. Home sales skyrocketed, and multi-family residences were being built at an all-time high — in large part due to steady job growth in Utah (currently ranking second in the nation and the highest contributor to our state’s economic growth).

According to James Wood, a senior fellow at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute who studies real estate trends, “The employment growth brings people in and those people need housing units,” he said. “Consequently, we get demand for housing.”

While Utah’s housing boom is adding homes and apartments at a rate nearly three times the national average, economists say more is needed to reduce shortages and help offset high real estate prices that drive out many people from buying — or even renting.

While new Utah homes have cropped up in clusters mostly in Salt Lake and Utah counties, southern Utah’s Washington County is also experiencing a boom, as a growing number of outdoor enthusiasts, retirees and service workers flock to its red rock landscape and warmer climate.

In figures released Wednesday from the U.S. Census Bureau, data shows the Beehive State continues to build homes faster than any other state, at a rate of about 2.2% for 2017-2018. In comparison, the national rate was 0.8%

According to the data, the Beehive State added about 24,000 new apartments, houses and other dwellings from 2017-2018, bringing the total number of homes to about 1.08 million. Not surprisingly, the Census Bureau also reported that Utah is #1 in the nation for population growth this decade.

So what’s in store for 2019 and beyond? What can both current and future Utah residents expect?

“We need more units. That’s the bottom line,” says James Wood.

While affordability remains a pressing issue, it appears that housing prices may be moderating. 2018 was the first time in years that the state built a more housing units than it added new households (although by just a few hundred). Additionally, a dip in home prices during the 1st quarter of 2019 is an indication that buyers are pushing back on home prices.

So, good news for future Utah home buyers (and sellers): this may be a turning point at which prices will continue to go up, but just not as fast. There’s one thing we can be sure of: Utah’s population growth will, without a doubt, continue to reshape Utah’s landscape and future housing market. Utah is projected to double its population by 2065!