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Study Shows Utah Home Prices Rising Faster Than Incomes


A new study out of the University of Utah shows incomes are not keeping up with rising housing costs in Utah. Researchers have known this for some time, but now they have some data behind it.

The housing crunch disproportionately affects Utahns who make less than the median income — about $65,000 a year. Some pay more than half their monthly income on housing. Utahns who make more than that are okay, for now. James Wood, a researcher at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute said rising home prices have a lot to do with labor shortage and rising land prices, factors that are difficult to control.

“Where do you have any leverage, any play in this issue? It really lies with federal, state and local government,” he said. “There are programs that can stimulate more development.”

People above the median can still afford to buy, Wood says, due mostly to low interest rates. But if mortgage rates jump in the next few years, he said that would make it a lot harder. And Wood says interest rates are likely to rise — and soon.  

The report shows Utah housing prices have outpaced every state but Colorado, Montana and Oregon since 1991.  

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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