Pandemic pushes prices to ‘insane’ levels for Utah renters

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Since the pandemic started, rental prices in Utah County spiked 66 percent — one of a number of counties where Utah renters are facing high prices and low inventory.

“It’s insane — I really have no other way to describe it,” said Francisca Blanc with Utah Housing Coalition.

Year over year, Utah is ranked the country’s fastest-growing state. During the pandemic, though, the state drew even more people as so many flocked to big cities and headed to states in the West like Utah.

Home prices spiked.

“The housing market has had an effect on the rental market,” said Blanc.

“More people needed housing,” said Blanc.

Landlords in many cases opted to sell their property at record prices — evicting tenants in the process. Supply didn’t meet demand, and the percent increases in rent prices help explain the impact on tenants and would-be renters.

“Utah County has seen an increase of 66 percent, Davis County 59 percent — that’s quite a bit,” said Blanc.

According to a report by Entrata, released Monday, five Utah counties experienced a collective 45 percent increase in rent prices from January 2019 to July 2021.

In Weber County, rent rose 35 percent; in Davis County, 59 percent; renters in Salt Lake experienced a 23 percent increase; in Utah County, 66 percent; and in Washington County, 43 percent increase.

“Similar to the larger real estate market in Utah, prices are increasing dramatically and putting a strain on folks looking for affordable housing,” the report reads.

Francisca Blanc with Utah Housing Coalition says she gets phone calls from frustrated would-be renters all the time.

“Probably 20 different people are applying for the same unit, at the same time. And it’s very frustrating,” said Blanc.

Utah still has more than $100 million in federal assistance money for renters struggling during the pandemic; more info can be found here.

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