Utah Foundation had asked about housing prices in its 2008, 2010 and 2012 Utah Priorities Project surveys but housing had never been one of the top 10 issues. However, housing affordability was the second most important issue to Utah voters in early 2020.
With the emergence of the coronavirus, concerns about housing affordability dropped to 7th – with just under one-third of Utahns ranking it in the top 5. (See Figure 1.) Interestingly, housing affordability was one of the few topics that did not differ along ideological lines. It did, however, differ along generational divisions, with younger generations much more likely to rank housing affordability among their top 10 issues.
In our pre-pandemic survey, we asked Utah voters who they would prioritize when thinking about housing affordability. Just under half would prioritize low-income Utahns, just under a third would prioritize first-time home buyers, and a quarter of Utah voters were worried about the affordability of their own housing.
Those who were more likely to prioritize affordable housing for first-time home buyers included conservative voters, Hispanic voters and married voters. Those who prioritized housing affordability for themselves included conservative voters, voters who were neither non-Hispanic white nor Hispanic, unemployed voters, and Gen-x and Millennial voters. Those who prioritized housing affordability for low-income Utahns were liberal voters, white voters, part-time and self-employed workers, single voters, and voters who did not identify with a religion.