Boosting Utah’s homeownership affordability

June 13, 2024 (Utah Policy)

Housing affordability is historically low, but boosting it is not out of the realm of possibility. The Utah Foundation’s most recent research, “Boosting Utah’s Homeownership Affordability,” provides numerous strategies that public, private, and nonprofit policymakers can use to help Utahns obtain the dream.

“Utah policymakers have taken several steps to support the need,” said Shawn Teigen, Utah Foundation president. “But there is still work to be done if we want to boost home ownership. Our report provides ideas and insights that policymakers can draw upon to keep advancing the dream.”

Report author John Salevurakis said: “Utah’s housing crisis has been slowly forming since the financial crisis and has become so palpable that no single solution can reverse it. A combination of solutions must be assembled to address it meaningfully.”

Strategies highlighted in the report:

  • Encouraging construction density can improve homeowner affordability as height limits are increased or smaller lots are embraced in neighborhoods otherwise characterized by single-family homes.
  • Pre-fabricated housing can be used to improve affordability as economies of scale reduce construction costs.
  • Land-value, flip, and vacancy taxes can be used to discourage housing speculation and increase the supply of ownable and rentable housing.
  • Shared equity models and systems of downpayment assistance can increase homeowner affordability and allow residents access to the housing ladder.
  • “Not in my backyard” or NIMBY attitudes might be related to gaps in insurance product availability, which should inform municipal actions when advocating for certain housing policies.
  • Various policy options can encourage condominium construction and help increase homeowner affordability.
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Referenced Reports