Utah’s housing GAP crisis is real

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The Gap is 50,000+ Homes and Growing

For the first time in 40 years, more Utahns are in need of a home than there are homes available.

In the last ten years a 54,000 gap has accrued between the number of Utah families or individuals needing housing and the supply of housing units. The gap is likely to expand in the next few years.


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a Home for our teachers and police

Housing in our community is too expensive for many members of the workforce that serve our community, like police officers, school teachers, and civil servants.

More apartments and condos located in the right place in the city will allow these important community contributors to live where they work.


“This housing gap has left many Utah families struggling to find housing options that are affordable. Our state’s current home prices are 20% higher than comparable cities like Boise, Las Vegas and Phoenix, which are some of Utah’s top competitors in attracting new jobs and businesses. If left unaddressed, this housing affordability challenge will become a crisis.  "We want our employees, children and grandchildren to enjoy the cost of living, quality of life and economic prosperity that we’ve enjoyed. To do this, each community must provide a variety of housing types for Utahns in all stages of life and socio-economic situations. We want them to have the option to stay here and continue the traditions of hard work, community and family that make Utah great. Together we can ensure the American Dream of home ownership is kept alive for all Utahns."   - The Utah Housing Gap Coalition, powered by the Salt Lake Chamber

“This housing gap has left many Utah families struggling to find housing options that are affordable. Our state’s current home prices are 20% higher than comparable cities like Boise, Las Vegas and Phoenix, which are some of Utah’s top competitors in attracting new jobs and businesses. If left unaddressed, this housing affordability challenge will become a crisis.

"We want our employees, children and grandchildren to enjoy the cost of living, quality of life and economic prosperity that we’ve enjoyed. To do this, each community must provide a variety of housing types for Utahns in all stages of life and socio-economic situations. We want them to have the option to stay here and continue the traditions of hard work, community and family that make Utah great. Together we can ensure the American Dream of home ownership is kept alive for all Utahns."

- The Utah Housing Gap Coalition, powered by the Salt Lake Chamber


Relevant news and research

Deseret News Reports on Utah’s Housing Crisis: CLICK HERE

Salt Lake Tribune Reports on housing crisis worsening: click here

KSL Says Utah has a lack of affordable homes: CLick here

Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute study explains What Rapidly Raising Housing Prices Mean for Affordability: click here


Affordability by Occupation: The Case of Public School Teachers (Courtesy of Housing Gap Coalition):

Discussions of housing affordability often make reference to the difficulty teachers, public safety employees, and nurses have in qualifying for home ownership. It is implied that the salaries of these essential occupations are simply too low to qualify for home ownership. Generally, the analysis of housing affordability and income by occupation uses the average income for a specific occupation. In the case of teachers, public safety employees, and nurses, employment patterns can lead to a relatively low average income for the profession. For instance, take the example of public school teachers. The high teacher turnover rate in Utah — 56 percent of new teachers leave the profession within eight years — results in a disproportionate number of young teachers at the low-end of the salary schedule in the profession, hence the relatively low average income.

The analysis below is more comprehensive than the typical treatment of teachers’ salaries and housing affordability. The analysis examines housing affordability using three criteria for income: (1) the salary of a first year teacher, (2) the salary of a teacher with 10 years of experience, and (3) the total income of a teacher with 10 years of experience and partner or spouse working three quarters time in retail.

First Year Teacher. Using the salaries of teachers in eight large school districts, the upper thresholds of housing affordability were determined. For example, the salary for a first year teacher in the Salt Lake City School District is $43,887. This salary is sufficient to finance a mortgage priced at or below $177,766. In 2017, 342 single-family homes were priced at or below $177,766 and 1,055 condominiums, townhomes, and twin homes were affordable to the first year teacher. Overall only 7.8 percent of all dwelling units sold in Salt Lake County in 2017 were affordable to the first year teacher. Affordability is considerably enhanced for teachers in the Ogden, Box Elder, Cache, and Juab school districts. In the counties where these districts are located, about 20 percent of dwelling units sold in 2017 were affordable, including a fair share of single-family homes.

Teacher with 10 Years of Experience. The salary of a teacher with 10 years of experience expands housing choices. For a teacher with 10 years of experience in the Salt Lake City School District, the upper price threshold for a home increases from $177,766 to $248,953 and the share of homes sold that are affordable increases from 7.8 percent to 33.1 percent.

Teacher with 10 Years of Experience plus Spouse Income. A 10 year teacher’s income plus additional income from a partner or spouse working three quarters time would provide a significant boost to housing choice. Fifty to 80 percent of all dwelling units sold in the respective counties would be affordable to this household.

It’s clear from the income and housing sales data that a household with a single income—a first year teacher’s salary—would have limited affordable housing choices and be hard pressed to finance a homeownership, particularly in Salt Lake, Davis, and Utah Counties. For the teacher with 10 years of experience there are more housing choices but they are still rather limited. In summary, it takes several years of teaching experience and a second income to expand affordability to more than half of the single-family homes sold and nearly all of the condominiums, townhomes, and twin homes. This would hold true for most public safety employees, as well as most nurses.