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Salt Lake area rental housing market continues to hold strong during pandemic

Posted at 4:45 PM, Nov 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-27 20:59:18-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Despite initial predictions from local real estate experts and economists regarding the pandemic, the rental housing market in the Salt Lake City area is holding strong in 2020.

“The bottom line is that the market is healthy, that rents are still increasing, that we’re still not building enough rental units, that evictions are lower than an average year, more people are paying, there’s government assistance for those that have struggled with COVID,” said Paul Smith, the executive director of the Utah Apartment Association. “2020 has been a very healthy year for rental operators, and we still have a shortage of rental units in Utah.”

A lack of inventory in the area is keeping the market relatively tight, research experts have noted. Those with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute said there has been an apartment boom in the Salt Lake area since 2014, but they don’t meet everyone’s budget.

As Utah continues to grow in population, rental prices have been increasing yearly.

“[Rent prices] still went up, but not as fast as they have been going up,” James Wood with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute said of this year. “The last couple of years, they’ve been going up 5 to 7 percent a year depending on the market.”

Wood says that the rental rate increase has dropped to roughly three percent.

Notably, unemployment is starting to rebound in Utah during the pandemic, and numbers have stayed well-below other states in the country. Evictions have also been down this year compared to years past.

“By the time that the CARES Act money and the federal stimulus and the unemployment was coming in, ever since then we really have not had many problems with people being able to pay rent,” said Smith.

While the rental market itself has held strong, Smith says there are still people seeking rental assistance.