Dynamic neighborhoods and high-rise living play against stereotypes of Utah’s capital
It’s a proven formula for real estate success: Combine a thriving tech scene and downtown development with enviable access to nature, and residential property will boom.
From San Francisco and Seattle to Portland and Denver, proximity to both an outdoor lifestyle and a high-tech economy have helped Western cities boom. Grappling with housing affordability and gridlock, many have even become victims of their own success.
For those unfamiliar with Salt Lake City, Utah’s capital seems like an unlikely pick as an up-and-coming metro. Outside of assumptions about its conservatism, owing to its position as the seat of the Mormon church, Salt Lake City may offer only one frame of reference for those unfamiliar with Utah urbanism: a unique grid system, known as the Plat of Zion, that resulted in massive, oversized city blocks.
Those seeing Salt Lake City for the first time today would find a city, and downtown, starting to hit its stride. By many measures, Salt Lake City isn’t merely catching up with its peers, it’s booming. The Urban Land Institute ranked it the nation’s third-best market for commercial development in its 2018 Emerging Trends report, fueled in part by the big names relocating here (Goldman Sachs’s second-largest U.S. officeis in town).
A booming regional tech economy, dubbed Silicon Slopes, includes homegrown firms valued at more than a billion dollars total, as well as offices for big names such as Adobe, Twitter, and Electronic Arts. Literally and figuratively adding runway to the region’s economic growth, a $3.6 billion airport renovation will open in 2020.
This growth, in a city just a few hours from numerous world-class ski resorts and national parks, has fed a rapidly appreciating real estate market, both regionally and downtown. The state’s population grew 9 percent over the last five years, much of it concentrated in Salt Lake City, where the median sales price for a home at the end of 2017 was $273,000 (still significantly lower than the average in Austin and Denver). Realtor.com doesn’t see things stopping anytime soon, naming Salt Lake one of 2018’s hottest marketsand predicting a 4.5 percent increase in home sales.
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