Recent college graduates have much to worry about — an uncertain job market, managing financial independence and where the future will take them. As I anticipate graduating with my bachelor’s degree from Utah State University in the spring, I am especially worried about the worsening housing affordability crisis that Utah finds itself in.
The Utah Housing Gap Coalition presents some alarming statistics on its website. First, Utah’s population has doubled in the past 30 years and is set to double again by 2050. Second, Utah’s housing market is burdened on all sides: rentals, existing homes and new construction. Demand is heavily outpacing supply, and in the past 10 years a number of 54,000 Utahns who need housing has accrued against the dwindling supply of available housing units. Third, since 1991 housing prices in Utah have increased at a faster rate than housing prices in San Francisco. If these trends continue, by 2044 housing prices in Utah could be equivalent to San Francisco’s current housing prices.
These statistics are frightening, as this will affect those in my generation most heavily as we prepare to become renters or first-time homebuyers. Utah is not trending in the right direction, and lawmakers and residents alike need to support policies that will increase the supply of housing. In communities across the state, NIMBY-ism has run rampant, halting desperately needed projects in their tracks and leaving people stranded without hope. Utah is known for its friendliness, and it is our responsibility to accept more neighbors who are in dire need of housing at a friendly price.
In this election, I will make my voice heard by voting for candidates who promise to make Utah a more affordable place where present and future generations can take root and thrive, and I plead with readers to do the same.
Saige Clawson, Logan