Can we blame Californians for Salt Lake City’s rising housing, rental rates?

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Salt Lake City, Utah skyline82865644-159532

(ABC4) – In recent years, many Utahns have blamed Californians for rising housing and rental rates, especially in Salt Lake City. But are people from the Golden State really to blame?

Unsurprisingly – or maybe surprisingly for some -, an influx of Californians is likely not the cause of the rising rates. Instead, our fellow Utahns may be to blame.

Are people moving into Utah?

The Utah Foundation, a nonprofit research organization, says a recent analysis of USPS change-of-address data indicates Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico are the top states seeing people moving in across the region. United, a moving company, reports Oregon, Idaho, and Arizona were the top moving-to states in the region. Another moving company, Atlas, includes Utah with Idaho and Nevada as the primary targets.

An analysis of USPS data shows residents moving into Utah are coming from these five states:

  • Arizona (32.4%)
  • California (26.9%)
  • Wyoming (10.2%)
  • Texas (10.2%)
  • Iowa (10.2%)

Regardless, the Beehive State isn’t among even the top 10 states seeing an influx of new, out-of-state residents. If it was, the Utah Foundation says it could help explain rising housing costs and rental rates. Instead, the organization says a different group of people is to blame, at least in part.

So why are costs rising?

A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found that among the 96 largest metropolitan areas in 2020, most lost population. Utah Foundation explains that, mostly, the loss was due to a decreased inflow of residents, not a mass exodus of them moving out.

The Provo-Orem area saw 39 fewer people per 100,000 moving in, for example, showing that people aren’t flooding out of the area, there are just less moving in.

In Salt Lake City, fewer people moved in during 2020 when compared to recent years. And while a recent report showed 26% of Salt Lake City renters are looking to move to a new city, fewer people actually left Utah’s capital city last year, contributing to the city’s population growth.

“And fewer people leaving is functionally equivalent to more people coming in,” the Utah Foundation explains.

Based on this data, the organization says that Salt Lake metro residents are at least partially to blame for rising housing and rental prices because they haven’t moved out at a similar pace as in previous years.

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