Utah Attracts Growing Number of Young, High-Income Renters
- Utah has increasingly been attracting renters with its unique mixture of affordability, a robust labor market, and outdoor lifestyle amenities.
- More than 50% of those who moved to Utah are 25 or younger, nearly 10 percentage points above the national average.
- Renters who moved to Utah have a 54% higher average household income than renters already living there.
Utah is quietly having a moment. Already a national leader in natural population increase and state-level population growth, its nexus of metros, including Salt Lake City, Provo, and Ogden, has attracted increasing numbers of young, high-income renters due to its affordability, robust labor market, and exciting outdoor activities.
Younger than the National Average
Renters who move to Utah quickly learn their dollar goes further there. Multifamily rents in the state are 11.8% below the national average, an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey found. Although single-family rental (SFR) units are priced above the national average (+10.5%), their sizes tend to be about an extra half-bedroom larger.
Utah has consistently ranked as one of the best U.S. states for skiing and hiking. Recently, a growing number of young adults have been relocating to this picturesque location with unique lifestyle amenities. According to Census Bureau data, the percentage of incoming movers 35 years of age and younger and those 25 and under was higher than the national average through 2021. 71.6% of cross-border movers were 35 years old or younger, while slightly more than 50% were 25 or younger (Chart 1).
More Affluent Than Other States
Another factor driving rent growth is that Utah has tended to attract higher-income households. Census data as of 2021 showed that the average renter household moving to Utah had an average income of $93,218, the sixth-highest mark in the country and 30.2% above the national average. These renters, who have a 54% higher income level than existing renters, are pumping more dollars into local economies. Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and the Bay Area, the three largest sources of movers to Salt Lake City, according to Redfin’s Migration Report, have large numbers of high-income residents.
Strong Labor Market Points to Strong Future
Economic indicators show that Utah’s moment is likely to have staying power. With an unemployment rate of 2.3%, the state’s labor market is hungry for talent. Utah’s job market, geography, and entry-price points make it an ideal location to maximize work/life balance.
With more and more young, high-income renters moving to its major hubs, the upside potential for commercial real estate investment in Utah may be far from its peak.
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