Despite apartment boom Salt Lake growth is gradual

The number of residential units in Salt Lake has grown significantly since 2010.  A few thousand of residential units have opened in the past few years, with more currently under construction or in the planning stage.  Yet, according to the recently released 2015 city population estimates by the US Census Bureau, new units aside, Salt Lake City population is growth is more incremental.

The Bureau estimates that Salt Lake had a population of 192,672 in July of 2015, an increase of 1,068 people since 2014 and 6,232 since the 2010 census.

Population estimates are just that, estimates and local municipalities can challenge those estimates. Last year’s initial 2014 estimates for Salt Lake showed a slight population loss from 2013.   That number was later adjusted and now shows a slight population gain between 2013 and 2014.

Salt Lake’s current population estimate could also be adjusted later as over 1,000 residential units were added to the city’s housing stock between July 2014 and 2015 including Bridges at Citifront Phase II, Encore ApartmentsSeasons at Library Square, Liberty Village, The Vue at Sugarhouse Crossing and Wilmington Gardens.  While not all those units were leased by July, the addition of so many units suggests that Salt Lake’s actual population gains could be higher.

Since 2010, the city has grown at a rate of about 1,200 residents per year; however, the majority of the city’s new residential units have opened in just the past two years.  The population growth between 2010 and 2015 may have been incremental, but the current rate of new and proposed residential developments is growing exponentially.  The Deseret News reported that as of early May 2016, 5,416 residential units were in various stages of development in Salt Lake.

Census data shows that region’s growing economy is attracting new residents, but Salt Lake is competing with the suburbs in drawing them to the city.  The Census Bureau estimates that South Jordan was the fifth fastest growing city in the country.

Impeding the city’s ability to bring new residents to the city is city’s housing stock. The demand for city living is greater than the current supply, and even with the hundreds of new rental units, the city’s rental vacancy rate is hovering around 3 percent and is driving rents up as landlords take advantage of the limited offerings.

The demand for urban living is expected to continue to rise as the national attention on Salt Lake’s economy continues to grow enticing more companies and workers to relocate to the region.  The financial website, WalletHub, recently listed Salt Lake City as the best place to start a new career among the 150 largest cities in the country.  Salt Lake City was also number one in professional opportunities and number 10 in the quality of life.

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Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at isaac@buildingsaltlake.com.