Growth and new Local Job Opportunities Increase Housing Demand

Utah’s population is projected to increase from approximately 3.34 million in 2021 to 5.8 million in 2065 according to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. Though growth rates are projected to decelerate over the next 50 years, they are also projected to exceed national growth rates by nearly 1%. Natural increase (births minus deaths) is projected to remain positive and account for two-thirds of Utah’s cumulative population increase to 2065.

This data informs us that our own children and grandchildren account for 2/3 of Utah’s annual population growth. It is also estimated that most communities along the Wasatch Front will reach full build-out by the year 2050. This means there will no longer be any vacant land to develop.  When the Wasatch Front reaches full build-out development will occur through the redevelopment of existing properties and growth will occur vertically.

Utah ranks #1 for the Best State Economy according to Wallethub, Wall Street, and others, and has for many years now.  Utah also ranks #1 for the Best Economic Outlook 14 years in a row according to Rich States Poor States, and various years in-between according to Fox Business, Wall Street Journal and others.  This trend is expected continue for many years moving forward.

In a previous blog article, we reported that Hill Air Force Base (HAFB) is a substantial contributor of economic activity for Layton City, and all of Northern Utah. It is the state’s largest single-site employer. The main South Gate to HAFB and the East Gate are both located in Layton influencing our economy for decades. In 2020, HAFB created approximately $1.44 billion in annual federal payroll, $2.5 billion in indirect jobs, $4.55 billion in total annual economic impact, and employed 22,566 personnel. This economic investment is key to Layton’s economy.

It is expected HAFB will continue to be a major economic driver to Layton’s economic vitality. In fact, the maintenance of several F-35A Lightning II fighters at the base, and Northrop Grumman’s 20-year $63 billion contract for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program will only strengthen Layton’s economic status for many years to come. These two aerospace projects alone are expected to create up to 7,000 – 10,000 new high-paying jobs in our area, which equates to 7,000 -10,000 new families, and 7,000 – 10,000 places to live in northern Utah. It benefits Layton City and your neighborhoods to welcome our new residents.

With new job opportunities comes increased housing demand. In 2020, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute estimated there were approximately 40,000 persons who needed a home along the Wasatch Front.  According to recent numbers from Zillow, a popular real estate website, there are currently a modest 270 homes available on the market in Davis County. Bidding wars are presently a common occurrence, and some homes in our area receive up to an unheard of 20 offers before the lucky buyer is selected.

Some local residents have voiced concerns regarding new construction of multi-family units in Layton City, including town homes. Construction statistics over the past five years reflect new construction of single-family dwellings still hold a sizeable 53% to 47% advantage over multi-family units.  Overall, single family homes still make up approximately 73% of Layton’s housing options. In 2020, our market attracted 370 single family homes, 240 townhomes, and 154 multi-family units to Layton.

Almost every year over the past decade, Utah’s rental prices have increased 5-7% a year along the Wasatch Front. Rents in the area have reached, and in some instances, surpassed mortgage payments. The current average monthly rent in Davis County is $1,102 — $16 less than neighboring Salt Lake, Weber and Utah counties (Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah). We are indeed failing to provide affordable places for people to live.

For those potential home buyers who are contemplating home ownership who are considered to have a low-to-moderate household income according to HUD, Layton City is offering the “At Home in Layton” program. The At Home in Layton program runs from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 and offers home ownership assistance to qualifying homebuyers. Assistance is offered up to $7,500 per applicant as a grant that may be used toward 50% of the required down payment, closing costs or principal reduction.

While Layton housing practices, as with each community, are somewhat unique to our city’s needs, there are still universal elements for successful housing strategies including: community outreach, commitment and flexibility. The overall goal for HUD, our Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program through HUD, and Layton City is to provide affordable options in rent and owner-occupied residential neighborhoods to last for years to come.