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The secret is out: Utah is a great place to live.
And not just a great place, Forbes, and other rankings say it's one of the best places in the country as far as recreation, business growth, and low government interference are concerned. However, nothing comes for free, and Utah's would-be home buyers have taken the brunt of the state's successes, says the Deseret News.
With many people from out of state moving here, and few moving out, there is far more demand than supply, and prices have escalated rapidly, and consistently, over the last several years.
The Salt Lake Board of Realtors, by way of the Deseret News, reported that "In Salt Lake County the median single-family home price climbed to $468,000 in the first quarter of 2021, up $68,000 or 17% from a year earlier when the median price was $400,000. In Utah County, that price is up to $450,000, up an even bigger 20% from the first quarter of 2020. In Davis County, that price is $430,000, up 21%. In Tooele County, it's at $360,000, up 18%. And in Weber County, it's $340,000, up 23%."
These increases rank Utah among the highest home price increases in the nation.
While this comes as great news for current homeowners, it leaves buyers out to dry if they aren't willing to offer significantly over the asking price.
However, there is a silver lining: One of the best lessons to come out of the pandemic is that employers were forced to adapt to new circumstances with a significant portion of the workforce having to work from home. Although initially many workers and employers had trepidations about these new work environments, Bloomberg, Tech Radar and others report many employers began experiencing something unexpected: increased productivity, happier employees and even record-breaking years.
Because employers experienced such positive results during the pandemic, work-from-home options are being considered as permanent options for many employees. This means that not only will employees have increased job satisfaction and productivity, they'll also have greater autonomy about where they can (and want) to live.
While many Utah communities have recently ballooned in cost, there are still several Utah communities that are relative bargains - especially for employees who don't need to commute into an office every day.
Here are just a few to consider.
According to the affordability research site, Home Snacks, Washington Terrace, sandwiched between Hill Air Force Base and South Ogden, is the most affordable town in Utah.
Washington Terrace offers a low cost of living, low median home prices, and high median household incomes, making for the perfect storm of an affordable place to live.
Having easy access to Ogden and Layton is a bonus, as you have all the amenities of a larger city nearby, without the added cost. Additionally, should you need to make the occasional trip into the office, access to I-15, I-84, and US-89 are all a short drive from the heart of Washington Terrace.
West of Washington Terrace and Hill Airforce Base lies another relative bargain compared to the rest of the state: Sunset.
With rent about half of what the rest of the state pays on average, Sunset also boasts the third-cheapest homes for sale in the state, with residents paying the smallest percentage of their income toward their mortgage, says Home Snacks.
If you don't mind the sound of freedom regularly flying overhead, Sunset is one of the best places to have your dollar stretch.
Only a short 10-minute drive from downtown Logan, Smithfield is one of the best-kept secrets in the state. Relatively untouched, this fertile farming town nestled in the Cache Valley is the perfect place to work from home.
Home Snacks reports that while home prices (and population) have increased over the last few years, Smithfield still offers lower than average home prices, with median incomes on par with the rest of the state.
For these reasons, coupled with the array of outdoor recreation options available, Smithfield is an attractive option for those looking for a bargain.
If you've been bound by a commute in the past, chances are you haven't looked too closely at Roosevelt, Utah. This is a shame because it's one of the most charming small towns in the state.
About two and a half hours east of Salt Lake City, Roosevelt isn't close to any metropolitan areas, but if it's an open space you're looking for, Roosevelt is a great option.
With housing on the very affordable end of the spectrum (many homes listed are between $150,000 to $300,000), you'll have plenty of money to spare for vacations, toys, and that truck you've always wanted.
Have you ever wanted to live in a small town that still felt like a small town? Price is one of those places.
UpNest reports nearby activities include hiking, boating, fishing and more. Surrounded by beautiful vistas and landscapes, a historic main street, and fun activities and attractions for people of all ages, Price is a town you can move to and feel right at home.
Oh, and home prices are some of the cheapest in the state -- many are listed below $200,000 -- which means you could sell your house in the valley, use your equity to buy a home in Price with cash, and pocket your wages for whatever your heart desires. Not a bad idea, at all.
Tucked away south of Logan is the sweet little city of Hyrum, Utah.
An affordability research site, Home Snacks states that "When it comes to getting a good deal, there's nowhere better in Utah than Hyrum … Hyrum residents pay the smallest proportion of their income on rent statewide. In other words, it doesn't matter if you're buying or renting in Hyrum; the city's affordability stands out."
Only a short, 15-minute drive to downtown Logan, Hyrum is a logical choice for a place in the south end of Cache Valley that still provides access to all that Logan has to offer.
Five minutes away from Hyrum, the same adjectives could be said about Nibley, Utah.
With some of the lowest unemployment numbers in the state, poverty is almost non-existent in Nibley. "Thanks to a high median income of $91,372, Nibley is safely in the top ten statewide for housing to income ratios, for both buyers and renters," said Home Snacks.
While Nibley's population has increased rapidly in recent years, it's still an excellent bargain for your money.
If you can work from home, your housing options just became much more expansive (and affordable). Check out current listings to see where you could be living - for cheap.