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More homes becoming rentals

By Randall Jeppesen | Posted - May 31, 2011 at 12:21 p.m.

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SOUTH JORDAN -- The number of people renting instead of owning a home is growing in cities all around the country -- and it's no different here in Utah.

About 4 million homes in the country have gone into foreclosure over the past five years. A USA Today report says that has led to a jump in the number of homes becoming rentals.

Economists say this shift to rental housing could have long-lasting effects on the stability of neighborhoods.

Cities with increases in renters

West Valley City2.7%
St. George3$
West Jordan4.8%
South Jordan5%

The newspaper also used census data for an analysis of the largest 100 cities in the country. It found 25 of them -- including Salt Lake City -- went from being more than half homeowners in the year 2000 to the majority being renters in 2010.

Not far away, South Jordan is mostly known as a single family housing community -- but that's been changing. From 2000 to 2010 the number of renters here grew by 5 percent.

Community development director George Shaw says the economy has a lot to do with that

"Mortgages are harder to get," he said. "People don't have work. When they don't have work they don't have money to put down on mortgages or to save the amount that's needed now to have a down payment on a home."

Shaw says trends nationwide have younger couples looking to rent more as they want to be more mobile. With a tough economy, many don't have jobs that allow them to save for a down payment. Add to that the number of foreclosures and you get a lot of people looking to rent.

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In South Jordan several multi-housing developments were approved and built between 2008 and 2009 as demand for rentals grew. But will the trend continue?

"In our general plan in the city we have recognized that we need to have a variety of housing," Shaw said.

South Jordan city planners say more rental units will be built, and they're making sure to spread them throughout the community.

But the desire for home ownership still exists. A Fannie Mae survey found 74 percent of those renting would rather own a home. In South Jordan, city planners have also seen the number of single family homes being built pick up again this year.


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Randall Jeppesen


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