Looking into Utah’s affordable housing crisis

Local News

WASHINGTON (News4Utah) – Housing is seen as a necessity for living.

But for many Utahns … that doesn’t come easily.

Joe Alisa, of Orem, moved to Utah 10 years ago for school.

“Yeah, we are still looking, can’t find anything, or we put an offer down and the seller took it off the market so it’s just a lot of frustration, just a lot of buyers not a lot of sellers,” said Alisa, who is looking for a house.

Alisa says housing prices were lower back then.

“So, my thought was I’ll get out of school and everything will be affordable. I got out of school and things had already jacked up and we thought well maybe they will drop back down, they didn’t- kept going higher,” said Alisa.

According to the Gardner Business Review, housing prices have increased over the past 26 years. This continual increase now ranks Utah as the 4th steepest increase in the United States.

The Executive Director at Utah Housing Coalition, Tara Rollins, says the biggest thing is wages are not increasing as fast as rental costs.

Another possible factor in rising home prices? New tariffs from the Trump Administration on Canadian lumber and steel.

“In terms of construction costs the tariffs that have been placed on materials have made the construction business skyrocket, ” said Rollins. 

“The tariffs are adding so much instability and unpredictability into the market that makes it very difficult for home buyers, home builders its really impacting it in a dramatic way,” said Congressman John Curtis of Utah. 

President of the Wheelwright Lumber Company, Paul Wheelwright, said he has seen little effect from the tariffs on the price of his lumber.

But, whatever the reason, the housing shortage will continue until supply can meet demand.

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