Developers building more affordable housing in Salt Lake

Developers building more affordable housing in Salt Lake (Photo: KUTV)

Salt Lake City — (KUTV) More people are moving to downtown areas of Salt Lake City than ever before, and developers are working to keep up with the high demand.

"We’re currently in the midst of the largest apartment construction boom in the history of Salt Lake County," said Kip Paul, Executive Director of Investment Sales at Cuchman & Wakefield Commerce.

Paul said vacancy rates are at an all-time low even though the average rent increase in the last year was 6.5 percent in Salt Lake County. Right now, 65,000 units are being built, including the 45,000 new units added just in the past year alone.

“If you’re a renter, it means it’s very challenging, hard to find available units in your price range," he said.

Historically, developers have been building Class-A units, or those top-of-the-line apartments which are more expensive.

Now, Paul explained, developers are moving towards the affordable housing model. Backed with state-funded bonds, they are working with private investors and state money to take advantage of tax credits and pass the savings onto low-income residents who qualify for affordable housing rent.

Life-long Salt Lake County resident Tom Nemelka was one of those residents.

He was thrilled he qualified for a studio apartment at the brand new 600 South Lofts.

"I feel like it’s getting a little gentrified here which is why I was excited to find this place because I could afford it and it’s right downtown," he said.

These lower income rent-restriction buildings allow residents like Nemelka to live and work downtown for a fraction of what a traditional apartment would cost.

"I think the affordable projects are very important to the community. They keep the rent structure in line," Paul said.

In addition to bond-projects like the 600 South Lofts, Paul also recommended renters on a budget look for older buildings around neighborhoods like The Avenues.

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