KSL INVESTIGATES

How millennials are keeping Utah’s housing market booming

Feb 22, 2022, 6:05 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 9:55 pm

SANDY, Utah — A general rule of thumb in real estate is this: the younger you are, the less likely you are to actually own your home. But the Salt Lake market is bucking that rule.

Kevin Leppink is in the market for new place to live. He is 29 years young and bought his first home when he was 24. He said if home prices were this high when he first bought five years ago, he may never have been able to move out of his parent’s basement.

“The equity is gone up a pretty good amount,” Leppink said. “So, the equity is kind of what’s helping me get a new house.”

One of Jennifer Gilchrist clients is 29-year-old Kevin Leppink, who is looking to buy his second home.

But despite our skyrocketing home prices, younger Utahns are finding a way to buy. Data shared with the KSL Investigators from FilterBuy shows that Salt Lake City is at the very top of the list for millennial homeownership in large cities.

Fifty-one-point-four percent of Salt Lake City area homeowners are millennials. Ogden tops the list of mid-sized cities with the percentage of millennial homeownership at 64.4%. With 51.6%, Provo ranked 13th on the list of mid-sized cities. Each of those Utah cities are well above the national average of 43%.

Leppink finds the data surprising.

“I feel like it’s a little harder for them because prices are a little higher,” he said. “Maybe they’re just finding better deals or moving into less expensive houses. But it is a little more difficult in this market right now.”

Leppink’s agent, realtor Jennifer Gilchrist, is not surprised.

“Sixty percent of my clients over this last year are millennial buyers,” Gilchrist said.

Realtor Jennifer Gilchrist explains to KSL’s Matt Gephardt that 60% of her clients are millennials – people born between 1981 and 1996.

So, what is it about Utah cities and buying young?

“I think in Utah, people start having families a lot sooner than in most places,” Gilchrist said. “And by the time you get one or two little kids, you don’t really want to live in mom’s basement anymore and you’re ready to go out and find your own home.”

Older Americans are still more likely to own their homes, but no question, this data shows “the kids” are a growing force in the market, especially Utah’s market.

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How millennials are keeping Utah’s housing market booming