Salt Lake REALTORS® Work to Protect Affordable Housing
Affordable housing brings the benefits of homeownership to a wide range of families. The Salt Lake Board of REALTORS® believes that housing options should be available to families at all income levels, and it is working to make them a reality.
The Board of REALTORS® recently commissioned two studies to help its promotion of affordable housing: a study on area impact fees, and a study on moderate-income housing plans and updates. Impact fees, imposed on new developments by local governments, are levied to offset the cost of providing public services such as sewers, water and power, and fire protection. Although these fees are levied against developers, they are usually added to the prices of homes. Under Utah law, municipalities and counties must incorporate moderate-income housing plans into their General Plans for developing their communities. These plans directly impact the availability and affordability of housing.
The results of the two studies by the Board of REALTORS® were mixed. Some municipalities in the Greater Salt Lake City area had done an exceptional job of helping to ensure the availability of affordable housing options by maintaining fairly low impact fees, and by updating their moderate-income housing plans to meet current conditions. Other municipalities, however, had allowed significant increases in their impact fees, and their housing plans were outdated. The Board of REALTORS® used the results of these studies to open a dialogue with local governments about affordable housing.
Board of REALTORS® members held a forum to discuss the results of the studies and to advise local officials on best practices for establishing and maintaining affordable housing in the region. They have also been meeting with elected officials to discuss the results of the studies and to float ideas specific to each community that would ensure affordable housing. Board of REALTORS® members have made meetings with officials a priority in areas with the highest impact fees and the most outdated or ineffective housing plans.
The forum and meetings have successfully raised awareness of the issues. Many officials were surprised to learn the results of the studies. Some were unaware that their moderate-income housing plans were out of date, or that their impact fees were markedly higher than those in surrounding areas.
The Salt Lake Board of REALTORS® is confident that, by continuing to work with local governments, the availability of affordable housing in the area will continue to improve.