Limited and Open Government

Money Isn’t the Key to Fixing Utah’s Housing Crisis

Have you seen the following chart? It shows us that there is a very large gap between the cost of renting versus buying a home.

When you are trying to decide if whether to rent or buy a home, please remember this one fact that often gets left out in these conversations: Whenever you get a mortgage, that mortgage stays the same over the next 30 years, but rent will continue to rise — especially if we have a shortage of homes… like we do now.

In fact, this chart is not just helping helping us decide between renting and buying. More than anything it is showing us the dire need to build more homes. If we can increase the supply to meet demand then we can prevent housing prices from continuing to skyrocket.

Lucky for us, Governor Cox recently announced a plan to construct 35,000 new starter homes in the Beehive state. This is a bold plan, one we hope succeeds with flying colors. But there is some caution tape we want to put up.

In order for this plan to be successful, we don’t necessarily need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars — what we need is to get local officials on board with making some key adjustments to our zoning. This is what will ultimately deliver these 35,000 homes.

We want to see quality housing for individuals and households whose income falls around the state average, $37k and $87k respectively.

This means addressing minimum lot sizes and other zoning regulations that make building starter homes very difficult. In short — legalize starter homes!

That being said, we love to see this new push and the big announcement from Gov. Cox. We are excited to see how it develops and will continue to advocate for sensible solutions to Utah’s housing crisis.