New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman is a world class talent. It was our privilege to host him at the inaugural Kem C. Gardner Policy Symposium this month. I attended the event and enjoyed a dinner with him the night before. I’d like to share a few insights from the experience. Read More
Census Bureau estimates released today confirm that Utah’s population surpassed 3 million and also had the most rapid growth rate last year. The state population for July 1, 2016 of 3,051,217 is an increase of 60,585, the 11th highest population growth amount among all states. Utah’s highest in the nation annual growth rate of 2.03 percent, outpaces second-ranked Nevada (1.95 percent), and third ranked Idaho (1.83 percent). Utah also became the 31st most populous state, increasing from a ranking of 34 in 2010. In the process, it surpassed Mississippi, Arkansas, and Kansas. Read More
This time of year, I always get a little joy out of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and my favorite character, Ebenezer Scrooge—“bah humbug!” I picture Scrooge at his dark and cold counting house with his dreary view of life, concentrating on the task at hand with little care for others or for that matter, the demands of a changing tomorrow. You know what is scary—I really like this Scrooge! Read More
I love the state of Idaho. I love the spectacular mountains, the rivers and the farmlands. I enjoy visiting the small towns and view Boise as an up-and-coming metropolitan area with an urban vibe. I love Sun Valley in the winter or summer and always welcome the chance to take my family there for a getaway. Mostly, I appreciate the people of Idaho for their friendliness, hardiness and industrious spirit. We are fortunate in Utah to have such a wonderful neighbor to the north. Read More
Several housing market indicators suggest Utah may have a housing shortage:
Home sales are hot. In the past two and a half years, the typical “for sale” home sold in 25 days.
Prices of “for sale” homes continue to climb at a brisk pace. Home prices along the Wasatch Front counties are up nearly 25 percent in three years, pushed up by demand running ahead of supply.
The number of new listing of “for sale” homes have been disappointing. Sharply rising prices generally bring more sellers into the market and boosts the number of listings but listings have lagged well below demand limiting home buyer choices.
Apartment vacancy rates are at the lowest level in decades despite the historic apartment boom. The boom has added 20,000 units statewide since 2012, a seven percent increase in the rental inventory but the rental market remains extremely tight.
Apartment rents are increasing at five to eight percent annually in many markets and rents have topped $2.00 a square foot in downtown Salt Lake City and Sugarhouse. To date, however, there has been very little market resistance to high rents.
Home builders have virtually no unsold inventory and are producing at full capacity.
The supply of new homes is held back, according to builders, by serious labor shortages, high land prices, and municipal zoning, fees and regulations.
In 1966, Utah reached the 1 million population milestone. Community leaders celebrated the achievement by greeting Utah’s newest resident — dubbed “Mr. Million” – with a 60-piece band as he stepped off the airplane. Since then Utah has added another 2 million people, and projections released last week by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute suggest another 2.5 million new residents over the next 50 years. It begs the question, what does the future portend for the Beehive State? Read More
“When you put your life in perspective, you realize how little time there is to make something truly significant out of it. To some people this might mean acquiring a lot of possessions, building a business, or owning property. There’s nothing wrong with these aspirations, but for me they pale in comparison to individuals who want to leave something more consequential as their legacy.” — Bill Daniels Read More
This past week, the U.S. Census Bureau released the 2015 American Community Survey 1-year estimates.[i] These data show us that while Utah maintains its “signature demographics”, it continues to follow long run national demographic and economic trends. Evidence of the ongoing recovery from effects of the Great Recession also appear in these data. Read More
I have a difficult time dealing with rude people. Moreover, when I find myself being rude, usually in the form of a sarcastic remark, I eventually retreat, feel guilty as heck, and resolve to correct that flaw in my character. Read More