New coalition hopes to get ahead of Utah’s housing affordability crisis

According to the Salt Lake Chamber, there are more households in our state than available units. That hasn’t happened in four decades.

A lack of supply is driving housing prices way up.

"Since 1990, Utah’s housing prices have increased at a faster rate than housing in San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle," said Steve Starks, Chair of the newly launched Housing Gap Coalition.

The skyrocketing costs are starting to get out of reach for some. In fact, a new study from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute indicates the average Utahn will be priced out of the housing market in 26 years, if it goes unchecked.

"It’s something that impacts all of us personally. I think about my daughters, and in 30 years when they go to buy a home, if we continue at our projected rate they will be spending over $700,000 for a modest home in a suburban community in Salt Lake County," added Starks.

It’s a threat to our quality of life, and our now thriving economy. Already, our prices are higher than other cities we compete against for economic development.

That’s why the Salt Lake Chamber is teaming up with local business leaders to launch the coalition.

"One of the things I love about Utah is that we have a heritage and a history of getting in front of problems before they do become a crisis," said Derek Miller, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber.

That is the charge of the coalition. They will be working with local municipalities on steps they can take.

Things like; zoning for a variety of housing types and prices, lowering costly impact and permit fees and supporting multi-use land development.

"The actions we are talking about taking, working with local communities is about increasing supply to match the demand, so that we don’t have inordinate pricing increases," Miller said.

This is not just a Salt Lake County problem. The coalition plans to work with Utah, Davis and Weber counties to increase housing opportunities as well.

The coalition is looking for more partners. If you are interested, you can contact them through the Salt Lake Chamber.

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