UTAH

Utah’s Quality Of Life Drops; Housing Costs Among Top Concerns

Sep 12, 2018, 7:53 PM | Updated: 9:27 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The quality of life in the Beehive State has decreased over the past five years, according to a survey from the Utah Foundation that shows the lack of affordable housing as the top concern.

“While people individually may feel pretty good about things, they’re seeing that their community quality of life maybe isn’t as good as it was five years ago,” said Shawn Teigen, the research director for the Utah Foundation.

Utah’s ‘Quality of Life’ Drops 3 Points In 5 Years

For 2018, the Utah Foundation Community Quality of Life Index dropped to 70 out of 100 points—down from 73 in 2013.

“It may not seem like a lot but that is a statistically significant decrease,” Teigen said. “We can pretty comfortably say that quality of life has decreased over that period of time.”

The availability of good jobs was the only portion in the community index that improved. Areas of concern included air and water quality, public schools, streetscapes, traffic, availability of green spaces and affordable housing.

Researchers said the top concern was that, “Utah’s rapidly rising housing costs have made many Utahns feel like rents and ownership are no longer affordable.”

“Jobs and the economy used to be at the bottom of the list. It has changed places with affordable housing,” Teigen explained. “Affordable housing is now by far the bottom of the list and it’s a concern.”

Real estate agent Eric Gardiner with Blackwell Realty Group said potential homebuyers and renters have struggled because of a general shortage of affordable housing.

“Builders can’t keep up, and then you see all the apartments being built around downtown. They’re all pretty high-end, luxury type stuff,” Gardiner said.

Home prices were expected to continue to rise, he said, as homebuyers compete to get an offer accepted—sometimes against people moving into the state with more purchasing power.

“I’ve had some clients that get frustrated, and they eventually quit looking,” Gardiner said. “They just get discouraged. They’re like, ‘Maybe now is not the time.’”

Utah Governor Gary Herbert said as the fastest growing state, it’s expected that Utah will have these types of growth issues.

“It’s an outcome of our success,” Herbert said.

Herbert said the state was looking at ways to keep housing affordable by working with homebuilders and local governments to examine zoning and other solutions.

“We have more jobs than we have people, so housing now is feeling that pinch and the cost of housing is going up,” he said.

In releasing the index, Utah Foundation officials said it’s perhaps surprising that Utah’s booming economy did not elevate residents’ overall perceptions of quality of life on the community level.

“Utahns living along the Wasatch Front, those who are religiously affiliated, and those with higher incomes all reported better community quality of life,” they said about the key findings of the survey. “Those respondents who identified with a religion indicated a higher community quality of life on 19 of 20 aspects on the index.”

In addition to the community index, the Utah Foundation also measured personal quality of life for a separate index. On that personal index, whether respondents felt financial secure was the lowest performing factor.

“Not surprisingly, income, age and location play a part in Utahns’ perceptions of quality of life. Religious affiliation is also one of the most consistent pillars of community satisfaction and personal happiness in our state,” said Utah Foundation President Peter Reichard in a prepared statement. “The findings also reveal significant areas of concern, including affordable housing, air quality, community appeal and traffic.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Utah

Angels Landing Zion National Park...
Larry D. Curtis

KSL’s Chopper 5 and photojournalist document Utah’s unique beauty

Utah's unique geography, that includes mountains, deserts, lakes and snow, bring visitors from around the world. KSL photojournalist Meghan Thackrey is part of a team that documents news on KSL TV's Chopper 5, giving her some pretty unique landscapes and geographic features to record.
25 days ago
The logo for Utah's Treasure Hunt 2022. (Credit: onthejohn)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

‘Utah’s Treasure Hunt’ gives out its first clue for the $20,000 prize

'Utah's Treasure Hunt' has released their first clue and a general area to look at for its $20,00 grand prize.
1 month ago
The bodies of Kylen Schulte (left) and Crystal Turner (right) were found near the La Sal Loop Road,...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV

Suspect named in Grand County double homicides of Turner, Schulte

Grand County Sheriff's Office named a suspect in the double homicide of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner. The suspect was identified as Adam Pinkusiewicz, who is dead.
2 months ago
An overlook of the Colorado River from Dead Horse Point State Park in eastern Utah. (Larry D. Curti...
SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science Writer

Earth Day: Humanity proves it can clean up messes, repair damage

As bad as the environment seems with climate change and other pollution, scientists say humanity has also done a pretty good job of cleaning up past messes. More than 25 experts shared their favorite ecological success stories for Earth Day. The overwhelming No. 1 success story is the healing of Earth’s ozone hole. Experts credit […]
2 months ago
(Used by permission, Emery County Search and Rescue)...
Michael Houck

UPDATE: Two men dead after rappelling incidents in Emery County

Emery County Search & Rescue responded to two separate fatal rappelling incidents involving people falling off cliffs this Easter weekend.
3 months ago
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 27:  Milly, a 13-week-old kitten waits with her brother Charlie (L) to b...
Larry D. Curtis, KSL TV

Rally planned against bill to erase local laws governing animal use including puppy mills

Utah lawmakers are pushing a bill that would erase city and county animal ordinances and laws in Utah and prohibit local governments from making new ones.
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Utah’s Quality Of Life Drops; Housing Costs Among Top Concerns