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Neli Ulrich, PhD, MS, chief scientific officer and executive director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (the U) and professor of Population Health Sciences at the U, has been awarded the 2024 Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology.

In-migration, high interest rates push demand for rental housing 

Sandy, UT—Utah continues to see record in-migration, increasing demand for rental housing, according to the Rental Housing Association (RHA) of Utah. 

In 2022, Utah saw an influx of 91,341 new residents, most of whom came from California (18,669), according to a recent report by the Census Bureau. However, it’s worth noting that the number of Californians moving to Utah in 2022 fell 20% from 23,219 in 2021. The report also showed that other states like Washington, Idaho, Texas, and Arizona played a big role in Utah’s population growth in 2022. Here are the top states feeding Utah’s population growth: 

  1. California 18,669 
  2. Washington 8,845 
  3. Idaho 7,774 
  4. Texas 7,070 
  5. Arizona 5,357 
  6. Colorado 5,327 
  7. Nevada 3,549 
  8. Florida 3,025 
  9. Oregon 2,413 
  10. New York 2,236 

“Demand for rental housing has never been higher,” according to Paul Smith, executive director of the RHA Utah. “Higher mortgage interest rates have sidelined many people from homeownership. This has placed even greater demand on all types of rentals.” 

While high demand for rentals has pushed rents higher, there’s never been a worse time to buy instead of rent, according to The Wall Street Journal. “It is now 52% more expensive to buy a home than to rent one because of climbing mortgage rates,” the article stated. 

Record migration combined with higher interest rates is making Utah’s housing shortage worse. In 2017, Utah had a housing shortage of roughly 56,000 housing units. By 2022, it was reduced to 28,000 units. However, by 2024 the deficit is projected to increase to around 40,000 units as new residential home production slows, according to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. 

In 2022, there were 14,236 authorized permits for multifamily units on the Wasatch Front (Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Weber counties), down 25% from 19,081 permits in 2021. In the first half of 2023, just 5,782 permits were approved for multifamily housing (apartments, townhouses, condominiums). 

About the Rental Housing Association of Utah 

The Rental Housing Association of Utah is a non-profit trade association designed to protect, educate, connect, and grow the rental industry in the state of Utah. RHA represents roughly 3,500 rental operators and more than 160,000 units. Our members range from basement apartment owners to large management companies. If you are in any way involved with the rental housing industry, RHA invites you to discover how membership can support you and your business.