Are Californians To Blame For Utah’s Surging Home Prices?

Apr 9, 2021, 7:06 PM | Updated: Jul 11, 2023, 11:55 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s a common story heard throughout Utah’s housing industry: Californians are arriving with plenty of cash in hand, outbidding local homebuyers and driving up the costs of housing; but an analysis by the Utah Foundation finds that does not seem to be the reason for steep increases in home and rental prices.

“Why are we seeing these increases? The Utah Foundation has looked whether it might be due in part to any influx of Californians. That does not seem to be the answer,” the report stated.

The rate of people moving into Utah’s larger metropolitan areas is actually down, the report went on to say.

“However, the increase in demand is actually due in part to fewer residents than normal leaving – particularly in the Salt Lake area – thus pushing up housing costs and rent,” wrote Christopher Collard, a senior analyst with the Utah Foundation.

Collard looked at three sources that show where people were moving in 2020: the U.S. Postal Service’s change of address service and moving companies Atlas and United.

“Everybody agrees that people are leaving California,” Collard said. “When we’re looking at the states where most people are moving, it turns out Utah isn’t one of the top ten states, but most of our neighbors are.”

Collard then examined another method to track migration patterns — consumer credit information — and found something interesting.

“The Salt Lake metro area bucked the national trend. It saw the fifth highest growth per 100,000 people out of nearly 100 cities,” the study said. “But is it Californians driving that growth? Not likely.”

Unlike other metro areas across the country, the Salt Lake metropolitan area — which encompasses all of Salt Lake and Toole counties — experienced population growth in 2020.

“People stopped leaving the Salt Lake metro area at the same rate that had over the previous years,” said Collard. “It’s kind of functionally the same thing as if we had a big surge of people moving in.”

“Utahns don’t leave because we love it here,” said real estate agent Adam Kirkham

Kirkham, a managing broker with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty and treasurer of the Utah Association of Realtors, said he agrees with the Utah Foundation’s analysis.

“We love to blame California for a lot of things, but in this situation, in-migration of California residents to Utah is definitely happening, but it’s only part of the reason that housing is increasing,” he said.

Kirkham said out-of-state buyers are adding fuel to the fire when it comes to home prices and that homegrown buyers are sometimes at a disadvantage when it comes to how much they are willing or able to spend.

“Typically, a buyer from California is used to a higher-priced home than what they’re going to find here in Utah,” he said.

The moving company Atlas classified Utah as an inbound state for the first time since 1995 and changed California to an outbound state for the first time since 1995.

KSL 5 TV Live

Unaffordable Utah

New townhomes...

Eliza Pace

Utah ranked No. 5 worst state to find a starter home

In a recent study, Utah was ranked the fifth worst state to find a starter home. Here's why.

2 days ago

A new study highlighted six "million-dollar cities" in Utah with an average listed home price of ov...

Daniel Woodruff

Utah has more ‘million-dollar cities’ as home prices climb

A new Zillow study put Utah in the top 15 states with the most "million-dollar cities." But other places in Utah aren't incredibly less expensive, economists say.

11 days ago

Lehi homes...

Daniel Woodruff

Governor highlights bills to help Utah homebuyers, but will they make a difference?

Gov. Spencer Cox on Thursday highlighted several new bills he just signed into law that are aimed at getting more buyers into the market.

17 days ago

a sign announcing rent...

Daniel Woodruff

Utah senators kill compromise bill giving tenants more notice of rent increases

A Utah lawmaker’s push to give tenants more notice of rent increases hit a wall as Republicans on a Senate committee voted not to advance it.

2 months ago

Homes under construction...

Daniel Woodruff

Utah lawmakers eye changes to first-time homebuyer program

Utah's new first-time homebuyer program could soon be changing.

2 months ago

two flags in front of the Utah Capitol...

Daniel Woodruff

Proposal to expand Utah’s earned income tax credit stalls at Legislature

A bill that would have expanded Utah’s earned income tax credit by making it refundable failed to pass out of a legislative committee Tuesday afternoon.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Are Californians To Blame For Utah’s Surging Home Prices?