Foreclosure rates are dropping and home sales are steadily rising in Utah, while renting has become a much less affordable option across the country. According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the number of people who are unable to afford their rent rose 12% between 2000-2010. With that in mind, now is the time and Utah is the place to start looking for a home.
NerdWallet analyzed the 47 cities with populations greater than 15,000 in Utah to determine which have characteristics that are favorable to home buyers. Our analysis answers three main questions:
1. Are homes available?
We looked at the metro area’s homeownership rate to determine the availability of homes. A low homeownership rate is likely a signal of competitive inventory, more options for renters rather than buyers and expensive housing. Areas with a high homeownership rate led to a higher overall score.
2. Can you afford to live there?
We looked at median household income, monthly homeowner costs and median home value to assess affordability and determine whether residents could live comfortably in the area. We used monthly homeowner costs to measure cost of living. Areas with high median incomes and low cost of living scored higher. Thinking of buying a home yourself? Check out our mortgage tool to find the best rate.
3. Is the area growing?
We measured population growth to ensure that the area is attracting new residents and showing signs of solid growth. This is likely a signal of a robust local economy, which is another attractive characteristic for home buyers. [For more details on our methodology, please see the “Methodology” section at the end of the full report on NerdWallet.com.]
1. Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs has the highest population growth on our list at 21.8%. The lakeside location offers gorgeous views and easy access to the lake with the 8-acre public City Marina for boating and other water sports. The area was originally a resort built around the natural hot springs and still maintains a quiet, rural atmosphere with convenient access to the larger metro areas of Salt Lake City and Provo-Orem. It is also near three colleges, including Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah Valley University in Orem and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Skiers and snowboarders enjoy the close proximity to resorts like Snowbird and Alta.
2. Eagle Mountain
The high homeownership rate (87.6%) and low homeowner costs at 27.4% of household income make home buying in Eagle Mountain easy and affordable. At its incorporation in 1996, there were just 250 residents, and that number has since grown to more than 23,000, making it one of the fastest-growing communities in Utah and the third-fastest growing on our list at a rate of 18%. Located at the western base of the Lake Mountains, residents enjoy plenty of open space in a community that includes more than 30 miles of jogging, bike and horse trails in its master plan. The local government offers incentive packages to new businesses, including land and utilities concessions, with extra incentives for the tech industry, which dominates job growth in the area.
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Other cities that topped the list include: Syracuse, Herriman City, Clinton, Lehi, Farmington, North Ogden, Roy, and Riverton. To read the full article, visit NerdWallet.com.