SALT LAKE CITY — Whether you're renting or buying, it’s a tough time to find a place to live right now in Salt Lake City — or to continue to afford where you’re at. That’s because the SLC metropolitan area saw one of the sharpest increases in rent since the pandemic.
Out of all large U.S. metros, Salt Lake City experienced the 3rd largest rent increase in the past three years.
“It’s a hard time for landlords, too," said Paul Smith, the executive director of the Utah Apartment Association." It’s stressful to raise rents, it’s stressful to not be able to get employees."
Smith says Salt Lake City is booming for good reason.
He says our economy is doing well, people are moving here for jobs, but we aren’t building enough rental units to keep up with demand.
But part of the problem is a lot of the new construction is luxury, high-end development, which is out of most people's price range.
Inflation is also playing a critical role in the sharp increase.
“The main reason rents are going up in Utah is because prices keep going up," Smith said. "It’s very hard for landlords to find maintenance, appliances, paint, carpet — they’re all going up in price. Rent is going up dramatically, but only half as much as home prices."
Still, it’s more affordable in most cases to rent in Utah.
“It’s becoming more affordable to rent," Smith said. "Prices are up for homes 50 percent in Salt Lake County in two years; rents are only up about 25-30 percent."
Smith says only about 9 percent of rent goes back to the landlord’s pocket. The other 91 percent goes to costs, like maintenance.
His suggestion for struggling renters is to find ways to increase their income, consider getting a roommate, and most importantly, be patient.
“Not only are people moving to the outskirts, they’re also being creative, renting basement apartments, rooms in people’s houses — there are options out there, you just have to be creative,” said Smith.
Supply is a problem across the nation. The U.S. has an estimated shortage of nearly 4 million housing units.
The two large metros that beat out Salt Lake City for the steepest increases?
Our neighbor to the south, Las Vegas, is the runner-up. Coming in first place: Sacramento.
The full study can be viewed online here.