Current Real Estate Trends in Utah

Utah’s housing market is on fire right now. Utah’s population has been growing by 18.4% over the past decade and there is an impressive employment landscape with an annual growth rate of 4.7%. Between the population and the job increase, these are the two top reasons why Utah’s housing market has become highly competitive. Over the last twelve months, home values have gone up 29.6%, and with the housing supply at an all-time low, prices should only continue to rise. 

Thanks to both an increase in people moving from out of state and in-migration to different popular areas in Utah, such as the Salt Lake metropolitan area, first-time homebuyers might have a more difficult time purchasing a new home than they would in other locations. 

Despite the high demand for homes, there are still good reasons to be entering the housing market to find your next home. In this article, we will be going more in-depth into the pros and cons of both buying and renting.

Pros of buying


The main difference between renting and buying is who benefits when it comes to equity. When you rent, that rent money is going towards your landlord’s mortgage or being added as equity to their bank account. When you become a homeowner with a mortgage, you increase the amount of ownership in your home with each mortgage payment. If you are intending to stay in your home for at least five to seven years, the costs of purchasing your home are more likely to be offset by the equity you’ve accrued in that time and the increased home value.  

Tax deductions 

Unlike renters, homeowners get an advantage come tax season. You can deduct mortgage interest as well as property taxes. If you meet certain requirements, the IRS will not apply a “capital gains” tax on your profits should you decide to sell, keeping more money in your pocket.

Creative control 

Unlike when you are renting, you have control over what your home looks like as a homeowner. Want to add a photo gallery to your walls? Hammer away; those are your walls now. Want to change the color? Have fun with painting! You are free to make the choices that will make your home truly yours. 

Maintenance choices 

As a homeowner, you have more control over how to approach maintenance. If you live in a house, you are free to do it yourself or hire your own contractor. If you live in a condominium or loft community, there will be a monthly fee to have that work covered by the homeowner association’s (HOA) contractors. 

Cons of buying

Pay for Your Maintenance

When you own a home, that means that you are the one who bears all unexpected expenses. So if the toilet floods or pipe bursts, or the air conditioner breaks during the summer heat, you are the on-site property manager who needs to handle it. 

Risk of Decreasing Value

Of course, homeownership is never risk-free. If you purchase during a period that’s followed by economic decline, that can affect your home’s value. Unfortunately, no one can predict the future of a specific region,  and some of those variables often depend on local or state politics.

Down Payment

When you are moving to buy a home, that decision will come with a steep buy-in in the form of a down payment. Down payments can be as little as 3 percent but can rise to 20 percent or higher. Before you can apply for a loan, you must have those funds in place. 

Difficult to Move

Owning a home creates roots, and while that is a good thing, it can have its drawbacks should you decide to move. You will find that there is a lengthier process to get through in order to move than you would have if you were simply renting. 

HOA Fees

Depending on where and what you buy, you might find yourself as part of a homeowners association or condo association. And with that membership, you will be required to pay up to hundreds of dollars a month in fees, with little control over the amount or the timing of the fees.

Property Taxes

With owning a home comes paying property taxes. Utah currently has the 11th-lowest property tax rate in the country but be prepared to pay up to several thousand dollars a year in property taxes, which constitute the bulk of revenue for many municipalities. While you might not agree with the assessed value or property tax amount, you are obligated to keep your property clear of tax liens. 

Pros of renting


If you’re moving to a brand new area or state, then renting allows you to explore and get used to the area before you make any long-term decision about buying a home. Until you are certain about a specific neighborhood, then renting will allow you the time to properly research and explore your new surroundings.

Career uncertainty 

So if you are thinking that you might move in the near future, or are contemplating job changes located in different areas of town or located elsewhere in the country, then renting will be an easier option should that move become a reality. 

Low or no maintenance expenses 

Should something happen in your home when you rent, the money to pay for maintenance won’t come out of your pocket. Don’t worry about going to the store to buy whatever needs fixing; just call the landlord, who is in charge of getting it fixed.

Utilities (sometimes) included

Depending on the landlord, In some cases, the landlord may have utilities such as water, sewer, garbage, and, occasionally, even heat or power included in the rent price. Those benefits might be offset by a slightly higher rent when that happens.

Cons of Renting

Rent Can Increase

Unlike with a mortgage that can be locked in, rent (while it might be locked in for the duration of a current lease) can increase rapidly, depending upon the market. And until it’s time to renew, you won’t know for certain how much your new payments will be which can make budgeting rent uncertain. 

Doesn’t Build Equity

One of the pros of home buying is a con for rent. If you rent, the money that you’re paying is building up your landlord’s wealth, not your own. 

Can’t Modify Property Without Owner’s Consent

There are often very strict rules in what you can and can’t do in order to modify a home that you are renting, and breaking one of those rules can cost you. 

No Tax Benefits

Homeowners get the tax breaks, so if you are a renter, you miss out. There aren’t any mortgage deductions, property tax deductions or a break on capital gains when you move as a renter. 

Must Be A Disciplined Investor

When it comes to saving for your future, homeownership makes it easy. Buying a home requires you to build equity, whereas renting can make it very easy to spend any extra money. So as a renter, you need the discipline to save money outside of your rent to build a nest egg. 

How to decide which option is best for you

Financial Goals and Lifestyle

Are you looking to stay in the same home or are you looking to rent out the home to increase your monthly income? Your money matters to you, so it matters to us. And helping you understand all of the numbers so that you can make the best possible decision is what we do best. 

No matter where you are in life, our team at Robus Mortgage is ready to help you. With our trained team, we can answer the questions you have and help you find the best option that works for you so that as you move forward, you can move forward with confidence.