Authored by Lee Sands, Local Government Policy Analyst
Increased demand coupled with insufficient supply have made homes in Utah worth $250,000 in 2015 now cost $500,000 or more. At these inflated prices, the American dream of owning property and a home is on life support for too many of our children, employees, and neighbors.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Attractive, affordable starter homes can exist if city councils, planning commissions, staff, and other stakeholders work together to pass the Small Lot and Cottage Court ordinances described in this policy brief. Luckily, these proposals do not require government subsidy, mandate small lots, or burden the taxpayers of Utah.
The key component to starter home legalization is to allow them to be built on smaller lots that homeowners can afford. For context, the price of a half-acre of land in Utah commonly exceeds $300,000. This alone necessitates reforms that allow more flexibility in lot size, shape, and home placement requirements.