Census data: What counties grew the most in Utah in 2022?
March 30, 2023
SALT LAKE CITY — A new county emerged as the fastest growing in Utah, according to new population estimates data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Tooele County, at 4.2%, led all 29 of the state’s counties in percentage growth between July 1, 2021, and July 1, 2022, besting Daggett County’s 3.8% increase, according to the bureau’s Vintage 2022 estimates. Utah County, which led the state in that category in the 2021 report, retained its title as the state leader in absolute growth, adding over 16,000 new residents to push the countywide estimate over 700,000 people for the first time.
The report adds that Salt Lake County remains Utah’s most populated county with nearly 1.19 million residents, even though it was one of only three counties to lose residents last year. However, local experts say that differences in how the Census Bureau and how the Utah Population Committee calculate data may explain why the trends are vastly different from a state report that came out in December.
Utah’s growth in 2022
The Census Bureau initially reported in late December that Utah’s growth slowed down a bit in 2022. The Beehive State gained about 41,687 residents from July 2021 to July 2022, a 1.2% increase. That was enough to land 10th in percentage increase among the 50 states. Utah led the country in percentage growth between the 2010 and 2020 censuses and placed second in the 2021 estimate.
Utah counties cracked the top 10 in either absolute or percentage growth this year, according to the report. Tooele County’s 4.2% jump was no match for Whitman County in eastern Washington, which rose 10.1% over the past year. Daggett (3.8%), Iron and Washington (3.2% each), and Juab (3.1%) counties rounded out Utah’s top five.
Utah County’s absolute growth of 16,628 people helped its population grow by 2.4%. Washington (6,204), Tooele (3,200), Weber (2,973) and Cache (2,744) counties rounded out the top five, according to the Census Bureau.
“Even though the growth has slowed a little bit, we still have the same trend of Utah County and Washington County really driving the statewide growth,” said Emily Harris, a senior demographer at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, as she reviewed the data. “Those two counties account for more than half of the statewide growth, so those are counties that we’re always watching.”
While the growth slowed down a bit, 25 of Utah’s 29 counties, or 86%, experienced natural increases, meaning more babies were born than people who died. That bucks a national trend, where nearly 3 out of every 4 U.S. counties ended up with natural decreases in 2022.
Utah County’s natural increase of 8,662 is the highest among Utah’s counties but nowhere near Harris County, Texas’s 2022-leading natural increase of 30,117. Carbon, Emery, Garfield and Piute counties all had natural decreases; however, the total decline there was only 61 people among the four counties combined.
What’s the ongoing deal with Salt Lake County?
The Census Bureau data indicates that growth in Salt Lake, Utah’s most populous county, is stagnant. It listed the county’s population at 1,186,257, down 183 people from the 2021 estimate. It finds the county’s natural increase of nearly 7,000 people was wiped out by more people moving out than moving in, otherwise referred to as net migration.
That’s contrary to the Utah Population Committee report, which found that Salt Lake County gained nearly 10,000 residents in 2022, reaching 1.2 million overall. The two sides also found different trends in their respective 2021 reports.
So, why are these numbers so widely different?
It goes into how both estimates are calculated. Both methods take a population base and use available data to determine natural increase and net migration to come up with a new population base; however, they use different statistics to get these numbers.
The Census Bureau’s report uses a mix of different National Center for Health Statistics reports to come up with an estimate on births and deaths. It primarily relies on Internal Revenue Service, Medicare enrollment and Social Security Administration information to piece together migration estimates.
The Utah Population Committee sprinkles in other readily available datasets like building permits and student enrollment information. It’s more detailed — and possibly more precise — because the committee only has to track 29 counties, not the more than 3,000 that the Census Bureau tracks, Harris explained.
She added that they’ve spoken with experts in other U.S. counties, such as King County in Washington, who have also spotted discrepancies in local and federal data.
“They have to do more of a one-size-fits-all approach; whereas the Utah Population Committee, we tend to use more local data and we have local data experts who can help provide context for what we’re seeing in the data,” she said. “We have a lot of confidence in the (committee) estimates for Salt Lake County.”
It’s not just Salt Lake County that the two sides don’t agree on: The Utah Population Committee’s 2022 estimate is almost 20,000 higher than the Census Bureau’s estimate. Had the two agreed, Utah would have tied Idaho for third in percentage increase growth.
Source: KSL.com, “Census Data: What counties grew the most in 2022?” March 30, 2023
Land Advisors® Organization is the nation's largest land advisory company. Here is their most recent Market Insights data, providing a comprehensive snapshot of new housing statistics throughout Utah.
Utah's Population Growth Ranking in Census Report
Utah's population isn't just growing by leaps and bounds percentage-wise, but new data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Utah's counties/metro areas are now starting to have the largest numeric growth in the nation.
“The price momentum will
trend lower, but another
year of double-digit
increase is likely.”
To read the full 2022 Housing Forecast Report, click here.
December Median Housing Prices
The median single-family home price in Salt Lake County climbed to $575,000 in December, a new monthly high and 28% higher than prices a year ago. Multi-family home prices also set a record in December, rising to $405,500, a 22% increase from December 2020. A new report by the Salt Lake Board of Realtors® projects that single-family home prices in 2022 will reach $600,000, a 12% increase over the 2021 median home price.
Wasatch Front Home Prices - 2020 v. 2021
The percentage of Wasatch Front homes selling below $500,000 fell to 62% in 2021, a dramatic decline from 2020 when 81% of home sales were below the half-million-dollar mark. Homes selling from $500,000 to $999,999 increased to 34% of market share, up from 17% in 2020. The share of million-dollar home sales increased to 4% of overall sales, up from 2% in 2020. The 2021 Utah housing market will be long remembered for its record-breaking price increases. Statewide, housing prices increased by 27%, shattering the 43-year-old record of 20.1% set in1978.
Here Are the Top 10 Towns Where First-Time Buyers Can Finally Snag a Home in 2022
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the American dream of homeownership has felt more and more out of reach for many first-time buyers experiencing sticker shock over the high—and still rising—prices.
The Realtor.com® economic research team found the best real estate markets for first-time homebuyers for 2022—places where it’s a bit easier for typically younger, more cash-strapped buyers to become homeowners in areas they would likely want to live in. These towns and small cities tend to be a bit more affordable and offer more homes for sale as well as boast plenty of younger millennial residents, job opportunities, and places to go for dinner or a drink.
These places tend to be suburbs of larger cities, some farther out in more rural areas, where real estate is more affordable.
To compile this list, the team focused on housing affordability (specifically the ratio of list prices to the incomes of 25- to 34-year-olds in the city); availability of homes for sale (measured by the number of active listings per 1,000 households), and forecasted home sales and price growth in 2022 in the metropolitan areas. The latter is a good indicator that homes will appreciate over time.
In addition, these places all have plenty of younger residents (higher percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds compared with the local population); lower unemployment rates in the metro and commute times to work; and plenty of things to do as measured by the number of restaurants and bars per 1,000 households.
The team looked only at towns and cities in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. (Metros include the main cities and surrounding towns, suburbs, and smaller urban areas.) Only one place per state was included to provide geographic diversity.
So where exactly are odds tilting a bit more in favor of first-time homebuyers?
1. Magna, UT
Metropolitan area: Salt Lake City, UT Median home list price: $355,000* Forecasted price growth in 2022: 8.5%
It’s no secret why Magna topped our list: It offers homebuyers a great location just 15 miles southwest of popular Salt Lake City—at a surprisingly attractive price. While the median-priced home costs $367,900 in the more rural Magna, which boasts a historic downtown, list prices were a hefty $485,000 in Salt Lake City in November, according to the most recent Realtor.com data.
The town may not be the most popular in the area, but its prices are attracting first-time buyers on a budget who can’t afford Salt Lake City as well as Californians and other out-of-staters looking for deals.
Magna is close to the airport and less than an hour away from some of America’s best skiing. The town is home to the Great Salt Lake State Park, the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere, and the Empress Theatre, a century-old theater that hosts local productions. It’s also in an up-and-coming jobs center.
“We’re pricing people out of the more desirable locations, and it’s making cities like Magna shine a little more,” says Carson. Especially for “first-time homebuyers, families just starting out, where their price range isn’t allowing them to purchase in other areas.”
Most of the homes in Magna are bungalows built in the 1950s and 1960s with anywhere from 1,800 to 2,200 square feet of living space. They are typically three-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom homes with a garage on about a fifth of an acre. This updated two-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage is on the market for $345,000.
Buyers willing to spend a bit more can score new construction, including this four-bedroom, 2.5-bath home with more than 3,700 square feet of living space for $596,195.
Have house prices finally peaked?
2 Utah cities have hit 'inflection point,' study says
December 19, 2021
SALT LAKE CITY — As home prices have continued to rise across the country, especially in the West, a new study suggests prices are "poised to flatten" in five of the "most overvalued markets" in the nation.
Those markets include two cities in Utah and several other metros in Idaho, Texas and Arizona.
That's according to research released this month by professors at Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University.
Where are home prices peaking?
"A pricing 'crown' is developing in the five most overvalued markets: Boise, Idaho; Austin, Texas; Ogden and Provo, Utah; and Phoenix," a Florida Atlantic University article published Dec. 2 states. "That's an indication that home values in those areas may be leveling off."
"A crowning in prices is common when markets reach the peak of their current housing cycles," said Ken H. Johnson, a real estate economist and associate dean at Florida Atlantic University's College of Business, one of the researchers who conducted the study. "It does appear that several areas around the country are at an inflection point."
In September, researchers at Florida Atlantic and Florida International universities ranked Boise as the nation's No. 1 "overvalued" housing market, calculating the premium homebuyers were paying in the 2021 market at 80.6%.
Three Utah cities and other Western metros ranked close behind Boise. Here's how the top 10 rankings most recently broke out, according to the university's online tool.
Boise, where homes are selling at an 80.51% premium.
Austin, Texas, at a 57.13% premium.
Ogden, at a 54.46% premium.
Provo, at a 49.18% premium.
Phoenix, at a 48.94% premium.
Spokane, Washington, at a 47.61% premium.
Las Vegas, at a 47.42% premium.
Detroit, at a 47.28% premium.
Salt Lake City, at a 47% premium.
Atlanta, at a 45.17% premium.
"The danger in buying into an overvalued market is that you may have to own the home longer to realize significant financial returns," said Eli Beracha, a real estate professor for Florida International University. "Once prices level off, reselling the property for a higher return is very difficult."
2022 housing market predictions
Even though the research out of Florida may give those aspiring to buy a home in the West hope, other predictors don't see some Western markets slowing down headed into 2022. The site Realtor.com recently ranked Salt Lake City as the No. 1 housing market positioned for growth in 2022, forecasting the metro to see a 15.2% year-over-year sales growth and an 8.5% year-over-year increase in prices. Boise projections ranked close behind Salt Lake City with a forecasted 12.9% in year-over-year sales growth and 7.9% in year-over-year price growth.
That's even though Utah and Idaho have already faced record-shattering years as the West's housing market continues to rage. In Utah, experts have warned of a "severely imbalanced" housing market as demand continues to woefully outpace supply.
Though the housing market has cooled slightly headed into the fall and winter — a typical seasonal pattern — housing experts do not predict a market crash or see any indicators of a "bubble" in today's market conditions. Unlike what led up to the 2007 market crash spurred the Great Recession — when the U.S. had overbuilt housing and lending practices leading to a subprime mortgage crisis — housing experts say demand continues to outpace supply, especially in rapidly growing areas like Utah, Idaho and other Western states.
The Realtor.com® data gurus have crunched the numbers to forecast which housing markets will generate the most heat in 2022. These 10 towns are where we predict prices and the number of home sales will rise the most in the coming year.
Source: Realtor®.com. December 8, 2021
New study reveals which Utah cities & counties
saw biggest housing price increases
SALT LAKE CITY — Any guesses for which Utah areas saw the biggest price jumps in home sales over the past year?
If you guessed Summit County, which includes Park City, perhaps one of the most desirable ski resort destinations in Utah and the West, you're on the money. The area remains Utah's most expensive community. The median sales price of homes there jumped from $801,274 in 2020 to $1.15 million in 2021, a 43.5% increase in just one year.
That's according to the latest research on Utah's housing market, released Wednesday by the University of Utah's Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute in a report titled the State of the State's Housing Market.
But there are other, more surprising areas that outpaced even Summit County in percentage growth of sales prices.
Look south, at rural Sevier County, near Fishlake National Forest and Manti-La Sal National Forest, home to Richfield, Salina and Monroe. Homes aren't nearly as expensive there, but the area saw an even higher percent change in the median sales price of homes in the same time period, from $185,000 in 2020 to $275,000 in 2021 — a 48.6% increase, according to the report.
Those areas saw the highest percent change in median sales price of homes among Utah's counties with more than 100 sales transactions from January 2020 to June 2020, and January 2021 to June 2021, the report states.
"Almost all Utah counties have experienced substantial increases in housing prices in the past year," the report states.
That widespread growth, the report says, is distinctive of the past 12 months, when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains, threw the national housing market into upheaval and accelerated already booming housing markets. The West — particularly Idaho and Utah — has seen an explosion in demand and record-breaking home price increases.
The report's authors warned Utah now is facing a "severe imbalance" in its housing market, with prices skyrocketing so much that more than half of the state's households are unable to afford a median priced house, which for a single-family home is $460,000 in 2021. But housing experts don't see a "bubble" about to pop like it did in 2008, expecting demand to continue to outpace supply.
Some counties with fewer than 100 sales transactions saw even more dramatic percentage increases. However, due to the limited number of sales transactions the percent change in those counties may not be as reliable of a measure of change, the report notes.
Consider agricultural Morgan County in the mountains east of Farmington, home to East Canyon State Park. There, the median sales price of homes went from $414,750 in 2020 to $657,500 in 2021 — a 58.9% jump.
And in Utah's upper northeast corner, there's Rich County, home to Bear Lake and Garden City. The median sales price of homes there grew from $317,000 in 2020 to $494,310 in 2021. That's a 55.9% increase.
Now let's zoom in on cities. Any guesses for which city had the largest median sales price increase?
It was Layton, a city in Davis County about 30 minutes north of Salt Lake City. Layton topped the report's list of Utah cities with populations of over 50,000 that saw more than 100 sale transactions from the second quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021.
Layton's median sales price of single-family homes jumped from $355,910 in the second quarter of 2020 to over the half a million dollar mark — $504,289 — in the second quarter of 2021, a 41.7% increase.
In the No. 2 slot was Herriman, a suburb at the south end of the Salt Lake Valley. That rapidly growing community — where city officials recently voted to annex a massive, controversial housing development known as Olympia Hills — saw its single-family home median sales price swell from $449,000 in 2020 to $620,000 in 2021, a 38.1% increase.
Of Utah's 15 cities that have a population of more than 50,000, 11 saw price jumps greater than 30%. For most of those, the increases were record-breaking, according to the report.
"Thirty percent price increases were unheard of in Utah before 2020-2021," the report states.
Even though Salt Lake County remains Utah's most population-dense county, Herriman was the only city in the county to rank in the top half of large cities with the biggest percent growth in the median sales price of single-family homes.
"Lehi, Logan, St. George, Ogden, Provo and Orem registered larger increases than most major cities in Salt Lake County," according to the report.
Source: KSL.com. "New Study Reveals Which Utah Cities & Counties Saw Biggest Housing Price Increases," Katie McKellar. October 15, 2021.
The pandemic has supercharged Utah’s housing market, driven by historically-low interest rates and low unemployment rates. Utah's housing market has been ranked as the nation’s #1 housing market for the strongest pace of job growth, along with low unemployment, low mortgage rates, few mortgage delinquencies, and low state & local taxes, according to Bankrate.com. Continued, historically-low mortgage rates, and a solid recovery from the pandemic, predict that the Utah real estate market could set another record in 2021. The same can be said about the Salt Lake County real estate market.
Why is Utah's housing market so hot? Rapid population growth and job growth are the two most important drivers of housing demand in Utah right now. According to local real estate agents, there are not enough single-family homes to meet the rising housing demand. A balanced market has roughly a six-month supply of houses, which means that if we stopped listing new properties, we'd still have about six months of inventory, before we ran out. Right now, Utah is down to about four weeks of housing inventory.
In April 2021, the year-over-year growth of the Case-Shiller Index, the premier metric for housing prices, eclipsed 14.5% for the first time in its history.
To determine the real estate markets expected to grow the most in the next year, researchers at Porch analyzed data from Zillow, Redfin, and the U.S. Census Bureau. Its researchers calculated the forecast one-year change in home price, previous one-year change in home price, sale-to-list price ratio, and the home price-to-income ratio. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 residents were included.
Here are the large U.S. real estate markets (population 1 million or more) projected to grow the most over the next year.