- Associated Press - Sunday, March 19, 2017

WEST JORDAN, Utah (AP) - Utah residents looking to buy a home or condo are finding an increasingly thin inventory as demand outpaces supply.

It’s a trend that has mayors, real estate professionals and home builders concerned, reported The Deseret News (https://bit.ly/2naOpBE )

There were more houses in Utah than there was demand for them for 40 years, from 1970 to 2010, according to a 2016 analysis by James Wood, the Ivory-Boyer senior fellow at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

But the need has outpaced inventory since then, and tens of thousands of Utah residents are now searching for houses or condos that don’t exist.

“What we’re seeing now is couples and families doubling up with friends or their families while house-hunting,” said Jaren Davis, executive officer of the Salt Lake Home Builders Association. “They’re kind of invisible, but when you start asking around, you find out everyone knows somebody in this situation.”

Land, labor and regulations are creating the biggest hurdles for the industry, said Davis. He said every builder he knows is looking for skilled laborers, but they simply aren’t available.

“Builders are working at capacity right now,” Davis explained. “There’s a cascading impact happening and we’re simply falling behind - way behind the need that’s out there.”

The mayors of Riverton, Midvale, Sandy and Draper - all communities between the larger cities of Salt Lake City and Provo - gathered for a panel discussion about the housing shortage last week.

“We have a tsunami coming if we don’t start setting down the guidelines now,” warned Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini.

She said cities will need to revise zoning and land use regulations in a way that allows for more housing density and flexibility if they want to address the shortage.

The mayors agreed that higher density projects are a critical part of the solution as land parcels vanish along the Wasatch Front. The state’s residential parcels are growing smaller over time, and so is the space left to build on, said Envision Utah Chief Operating Officer Ari Bruening.


Information from: Deseret News, https://www.deseretnews.com

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