By: James Wood
Realtors, home buyers, renters, and builders all agree: there are not enough housing units to meet demand. And their anecdotes are supported by housing market data. Typically the number of new housing units in a given year is slightly greater than the annual increase in households. In other words, annually we get more homes than households and the difference is explained by second homes and changes in vacancy rates. This decades old stable relationship, however has flipped since the Great Recession. The annual increase in households has exceeded housing units for the past several years creating a housing shortage. Utah is certainly not alone in facing a housing shortage. The shortage is a national problem and particularly acute in high growth states like Utah. Since 2011, the number of households in Utah has increased by 158,100, but only 114,600 new housing units have been built, leaving a shortfall of some 43,500 dwelling units (see Table 1).
Table 1: Increase in Households Compared to the Increase in Housing Units in Utah