Rent hikes slow down in Salt Lake City, and so do rent payments nationwide

March numbers are in for rents at multi-family buildings in various Utah cities, and their rise in Salt Lake City continues to slow down.

Rents were up 3.1% in the capitol city from March last year, down from a 3.4% increase in February compared to 2019. The average rent in Salt Lake City is $1244.

Along the Wasatch Front, March rents saw their sharpest increase in Ogden (7.5% y-o-y). Yet O-town is still the most affordable city in which to rent, at $963 a month.

Sandy (7.1%, avg. $1312) and West Jordan (3.7%, avg. $1196) also had March y-o-y rent increases higher than Salt Lake City. Provo continues to be the most expensive city in which to rent, at $1442 (1.8%).

The slowdown in rent increases is consistent with the national trend. 60% of the cities surveyed by Yardi Matrix “saw a deceleration in year-over-year rent growth from February to March.”

Can current renters pay?

In a nation-wide survey conducted by the National Multifamily Housing Council, only 69% of renters paid their April rent by the 5th. This is 12% fewer than March and 13% fewer than April 2019.

By April 12, however, that number had increased to 84%.

While there are no local numbers for rent payment lapses, the no-eviction order issued by Governor Herbert on April 1 has pressed landlords to negotiate with tenants who have suffered financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor noted that this was an order to defer, not abate, rental payments until May 15.

PEG Development’s Trevor Ellis noted in a meeting of the Downtown Alliance’s Development Committee this week that “we’d rather defer payment than lose a tenant.” He reports that 97% of their renters at their Milagro Apartments at 241 West 200 South paid their April rent on time.

He reports a slowdown in leasing, but says it hasn’t ground to a halt. PEG’s three open hotel properties in Downtown, however, have laid off 80% of their workers and have under a 10% average occupancy rate.

Posted by Luke Garrott

Luke Garrott, PhD, has published in The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, and written features for the Salt Lake City Weekly City Guide and The West View. A former two-term councilman in Salt Lake City's District 4, he lives in Downtown Salt Lake City and grew up in the Chicago area.