LEHI, Utah — A new study shows that the average price of rent in Lehi has surpassed that of Salt Lake City and Provo.
Prices to rent in Lehi have shot up dramatically. The national average rental rate has increased by 22 percent in the past year, but in Lehi, that number is over 33 percent.
“It’s no surprise Lehi’s prices are going up. It’s really so convenient, right in the middle of Salt Lake and Provo metro areas, and it’s a very desirable area,” said Paul Smith with the Utah Apartment Association.
In the last year, Lehi’s average rent has increased from $1,200 to over $1,600.
The study says despite the rising prices, apartment occupancy is at an all-time high.
Smith says we need to see more apartment developments, ADUs (accessory dwelling units), and homes built.
“This is not a short-term problem, but it always works itself out in the long run. We just need more housing, we need cities to approve more, and we want our economy to continue to grow so we need to build more supply,” he said.
Experts say some of the factors for the rent increases in Utah County include the booming growth of the tech corridor Silicon Slopes, as well as the “Not In My Backyard” mentality that some have.
Despite the price surge and shortage of supply, many who live in Lehi oppose new development — claiming that it either doesn’t address affordability or will cause other issues, like more traffic and taxing the infrastructure system.
“For our valley and state to develop the way it needs to, we need to be willing to have that in our backyard,” said Smith.
Smith says even when a new development being proposed is considered luxury, he believes it will still help solve the issue.
“New construction almost never addresses affordable housing, but it frees up rentals in the middle and the lower range as people move up, so all new development is good for the bottom even though it may focus on the higher end,” said Smith.
Another solution: Allowing more accessory dwelling units to be built and rented.
“ADUs are an essential piece of the solution. Basement apartments, outbuildings on your property that you can rent. That’s the kind of thing that we need to highly consider and prioritize if we’re gonna solve our affordable housing problems,” said Smith.
For now, while we're waiting on new developments to be finished, you’ll have to fight hard to find a place, and in some cases, even harder to afford it.
"You have to look and be the first to apply. Be early. Look hard, turn over every rock and you will find a place,” said Smith.
FOX 13 News reached out to Stack Real Estate, the developer who proposed the high-density housing development near Thanksgiving Point. They declined to comment on the progress of the project at this time.