Affordable Housing in Utah County: Is the County in crisis? 02

Tambra Mills scratches her face as she talks with her friend Danny, not pictured, in her kitchen Friday, April 21, 2017 at Brigham Apartments in Provo. Mills’ mobility is limited by a leg condition, and she has lived at the apartment complex for six years. ISAAC HALE, Daily Herald

Last week, the 2018 American Community Survey was released by the census with updated estimates for counties.

It had some enlightening information ahead of the 2020 Census count that shows how drastically Utah County has moved since 2010. In it, the Census Bureau states the total population of Utah County in 2018 was 622,213, an increase of 10.9% over the past five years.

However, that percentage jump in new residents hardly boggles our minds when you also take a look at the increase in median home values — up $35,000 in one year, according to the survey.

In just five years, the median home value in Utah County has jumped 40%. In 2014, residents here saw home values at the reasonable $238,000.

Now tell us Utah doesn’t have an affordable housing crisis. Unless by some miracle you think businesses have issued cost of living increases and significantly risen wages by 40% in Utah since 2014?

Unfortunately, with great economic success has also come some challenges. With the boom in tech and health/wellness business along Silicon Slopes, Utah’s economy has significantly strengthened, but it also has the potential to bring along issues that Silicon Valley is notorious for — priced out housing, inaccessibility for minority demographics and more.

We’ve already gotten a taste for this just with the home value jumps in five years. If companies and leaders don’t actively work to alleviate these challenges brought on by business, economic inequality will only become more severe in the coming decade.