OGDEN, Utah — Three of Utah’s metros made the top three in the nation for overvalued housing markets, but the state's rent increase is not far from the national average.
Still, many in our community have reached out to FOX 13 News saying it’s almost impossible to find an affordable place to live.
“Well, the good news is in 2020: rents hardly went up. The bad news in 2021: they went up for two years’ worth, and that’s about 10-15 percent on average,” said Paul Smith, the executive director of the Utah Apartment Association.
Many Utahns are feeling the pack of that rental increase punch.
“Certainly we’re seeing more people renting than ever before,” said Smith.
According to a recent report, the Utah housing market is overvalued — as much as over 50 percent in some Utah metros such as Ogden and Salt Lake City.
That has forced a lot of prospective buyers to rent, with about 34 percent of Utahns renting right now, according to Smith.
FOX 13 News spoke to an Ogden woman who listed her apartment for rent and in just two days got nearly 100 applicants.
“We rent the basement out because we can’t afford it,” said Tricia Englert.
Englert bought her Ogden home right before the pandemic.
She recently listed her two-bedroom basement on Facebook marketplace.
“It was a lot. It was extremely chaotic. I had to set my phone down at one point and just leave it alone because my phone just kept going off. There were people that I had to say no to, who were about to be homeless who were packing up their stuff, who were about to move out,” said Englert.
Smith says we’re not going to see a drop anytime soon.
“With inflation at 7-8 percent, just expect regular rent increases for the next few years. Owners’ prices are going up, their labor costs, their supply and materials, and so they have to pass that on just to survive,” he said.
The cost of rent is only going up about half as fast as home prices. Smith says it’s becoming relatively more affordable to rent than to own, but he knows that’s little consolation.
“The main factor is we don’t have enough supply. We have too much demand for the limited supply, too many people looking for the limited number of apartments, and that’s driving prices. Now it’s not driving them nearly as much as home prices are going up,” he said.
There are still some things you can do if you are feeling hopeless.
“Well, one great thing is we still have several hundreds of millions of dollars of rental assistance,” said Smith.
Anyone making 80 percent or less of their county's annual median income is eligible for the government to pay 12-15 months of rent. If you make more than that, Smith says you will have to negotiate with your landlord.