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What Does Out-Of-State Migration Mean for Utah’s Future?

Have you been thinking about moving to the Beehive State? If so, get in line. Utah is in the midst of unprecedented migration as people are flocking to the state. This is a good position to be in if your state is looking to welcome people. But what does so much out-of-state migration mean for Utah’s future?

Utah has witnessed a steady population increase for the better part of a decade. Salt Lake City is one of the hottest markets thanks to its booming economy and significant talent pool. But even popular tourist areas – like Park City and Sundance – are seeing quite a bit of out-of-state migration.

Some native Utahans are more than happy to welcome new residents. Others are not so sure they want so much migration. One thing is for certain: Utah is going to be a hugely different state ten years from now. It is already significantly different compared to what it was even just a decade ago.

One-Third From Out-Of-State

A recent post published by the Daily Herald cited some surprising numbers. For starters, real estate data shows some 3,100 active listings and 9,000 new homes under contract in 2020. Builders are building homes as fast as they can and charging premium prices for them.

The date also suggests that three out of every ten housing transactions now involves out-of-state buyers. Two of the three are coming from California. That is pretty significant. California migration is one of the things that has some native Utahans nervous.

Leaving Costly Blue States

California is one of those blue states people are now fleeing because of the high cost of living. Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley is now experiencing some of the most serious outbound migration anywhere in the country. People are packing up and heading east.

What is behind the migration? Remote work. Many of Silicon Valley’s tech giants have discovered they do not need to maintain large office complexes. They have discovered their workers can, and want to, work remotely. Those given the green light see no reason to continue living in pricey California.

Housing prices are not the only thing high in California. The Golden State is one of the most highly taxed in the nation. Everything costs more, too. From gasoline to groceries, it is expensive to live there. By contrast, Utah is a lot more affordable.

Even building a luxury home tends to be less expensive in Utah. You can work with an architectural firm like Park City’s Sparano + Mooney and get the latest in mountain modern architecture for a lot less than you would pay in the Silicon Valley.

Don’t Change Our State

For many people born and raised in Utah, resistance to migration has nothing to do with contemporary architectural design or the debate between single-family homes and high-density housing. It is about change. Simply put, they like the political, cultural, and social environment now found in Utah. They don’t want to lose it.

For wrong or right, native Utahans have legitimate concerns. They can see what has happened in other states, like Virginia for example, and fear that the same thing will happen to them. Virginia was a solidly red state up until about 20 years ago. Then Alexandria exploded as a bedroom community for DC.

Today, most of Virginia is still solidly red. But high population densities in Alexandria and Richmond have made the state politically blue. Utahans fear the same thing could happen to their beloved state.

What does out-of-state migration mean for Utah’s future? Time will tell. One thing for sure is that Utah will not remain the same state it now is.

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