November 15, 2013

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Utah Poised for Residential and Commercial Real Estate Growth

By Rachel Madison

November 15, 2013

When it comes to residential and commercial real estate across Utah, there’s a lot more to feel confident about than the rest of the nation, according to Arthur Chris Nelson, executive director of the Metropolitan Research Center and co-director of the master of real estate development program at the University of Utah.

Nelson, along with several other real estate industry experts, spoke about real estate trends people can expect to see in Utah during an Urban Land Institute breakfast program Thursday.

Nelson said Utah is essentially growing twice as fast as the rest of the nation. By 2040, the United States will become a nation with a “new majority,” meaning there will be more people who are minorities living in the United States than the current majority.

“In Utah, more than half of our growth will be ‘new majority’ growth,” Nelson said. “Sixty percent of the Wasatch Range as a whole will be the ‘new majority.’”

Nelson also predicted that the Wasatch Front will grow by 50 percent between now and 2040. In addition, Nelson said because of Baby Boomers, Utah and the nation have an aging population, but Utah isn’t as affected as the rest of the country.

“Between 2010 and 2030, half of the net change in the population will be attributable to those over age 65,” he said. “Utah is growing at half the rate of the aging population in the nation as a whole. The reason is because of our young population and growing families.”

Between 2010 and 2030, only 14 percent of the net change in households will have children in them in the nation, but in Utah, one-third to a half of homes will have children in them, Nelson said.

“There’s a much higher demand for homes [that can accommodate] children in Utah than other parts of the country,” he said.

Nelson has also observed that for a long time, there was a decrease in multigenerational households across the nation, but he now sees that growing.

“By 2040, more than 20 percent of American households will be multigenerational,” he said.

Nelson said Utah and the Wasatch Front are clearly different than the rest of the nation. The state’s population continues to grow, along with needs for commercial and residential real estate, at a much faster rate than the rest of the country.

“Bridging the present with the future is the challenge,” Nelson said. “We need to meet the demands now, but we also need to prepare for the future. That’s the challenge we’re all facing right now.”

Overall, Nelson said the Wasatch Front is the area to watch when it comes to real estate growth.

“For most of the Wasatch Front, growth will need to be accommodated on the narrow band of land from Logan to Provo,” he said. “We have a couple of lakes in the way, mountain ranges in the way and publicly owned lands in the way. In my opinion, redevelopment of spaces along the Wasatch Front should be our target area for new growth.”

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