Surging Home Prices Compel Salt Lake City to Ease Zoning Rules

Many seemingly insignificant changes in the real estate market could have many effects in state regulations. For example, the rising costs of housing in Salt Lake City has led the city council to ease its zoning regulations for “mother-in-law apartments,” which are small units attached to a single-family home.

As a result, the relaxed rules might help with increasing the number of small homes in different communities, especially for families who need the extra space or income from renting it out. A caveat, though, involves more expensive construction costs for labor and materials.

Smaller Flats

Called “granny flats” in other regions, cities or countries, mother-in-law apartments used to be a common sight in the city over previous decades. Some of these properties were either inside garages or in separate buildings at the backyard. They were mainly used as an extra living space for extended family or as a source of additional income through both short- and long-term rentals.

In recent years, however, such properties have been restricted to neighborhoods in Salt Lake City that are less than a half mile from TRAX terminals. The council requires homeowners to live in the main property or the small apartment.

This will discourage people from renting it out as a commercial property. Residents will most likely take advantage of the new rules, given that median-priced homes in Utah now cost $355,000. Instead of building or buying new property, new families could opt for this new alternative.

It might be cheaper to build a mother-in-law apartment as well, but you could save more by knowing where to buy materials. If you need to know the current prices for steel, online suppliers provide their clients with instant quotes. When you add up the little areas you can save on, it will surprise you how much of a difference they all make.

Home Prices

Man showing house price in calculator

Homes in Salt Lake County rose by $10,000 in the third quarter of 2018 form $345,000 between January and March, according to the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. High demand and low supply usually cause the upswing in prices, but a shortage of workers serves as a probable reason for the price change.

New home construction has increased yet many workers have become unavailable, due to the Salt Lake City International Airport project and other local developments. As such, many homeowners have to halt their plans and the boom in mother-in-law flats must face a slowdown in the immediate future.

Whether or not the new rules lower property prices in Salt Lake City, many residents will be more than happy to build small apartments if that means not having to pay the steep price of homes in the city. It is only a timely alternative to avoiding high costs of home purchases in the city, which might not be applicable in a few years’ time.

The real concern for most residents here is the cost of living, which can be reflected by the real estate market, and the long-term solutions worth considering will take more than looking for cheap materials and labor for an extra flat in your lawn or backyard.

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