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Murray Journal

Home prices jump in Murray, however affordable housing available

Sep 07, 2018 02:23PM ● By Jana Klopsch

A report shows that Murray has affordable housing options in a steep housing market. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

By Shaun Delliskave|s.delliskave@mycityjournals.com

What was once unthinkable is now becoming a reality—the housing market in Salt Lake County is too steep for many, especially first-time homebuyers. In the August 14 city council meeting, it was revealed that Murray’s home prices have grown on average by 8.5 percent; however Murray does have affordable housing options for potential residents.

Murray City recently submitted its Moderate-Income Housing Report to the State of Utah, and its data reveals that Murray is experiencing the same issues that other communities along the Wasatch Front are experiencing: wage growth has barely increased, while the price of homes and rent have dramatically jumped. 

According to the Gardner Business Review, over the past 26 years, housing prices have skyrocketed in Utah. Home buyers and renters are feeling the impact of the 4th steepest housing price increase in the United States. 

A worrying projection in Murray's housing report forecasts that the median household income will drop from $56,163 to $47,704. 

Jared Hall, community development supervisor for Murray City explained, “It’s important to remember that these are projections of a trend that is based on the most recent data, in this case 2015, as compared to the 2010 data from the U.S. Census. Data from the 2010 Census is more robust than the data collected in the years between. The resulting drop from $56,163 to $47,704 is also based on a simple projection of the trend between the data in 2015 and the much more reliable data at 2010, and does not factor in variables like the significantly lower unemployment rates and good job growth since 2015.”      

To qualify for some public housing, affordable housing, and homeownership assistance programs, families must have incomes below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI). The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) develops these family income standards. Median rental costs in Murray fell below 80 percent of AMI income levels, resulting in 4,323 affordable units currently. This is good news for people wishing to call Murray home, as there are more housing options available.

According to Hall, “Murray City has a great mix of single-family homes and other housing options, with those choices continuing to grow. When working to support affordable housing, the first and best goal is to provide housing options. Apartments, townhomes, condominiums, and even assisted living facilities and senior apartments have a role to play in the creation of communities.”   

Murray City continues to promote the use of Accessory Dwelling Units (mother-in-law apartments), Flag Lot Subdivisions, and Residential Infill Subdivisions, such as subdivided farm lots, in all single-family residential zones to reduce the costs associated with development. Some homeowners oppose mother-in-law apartments, etc., for fear of decreasing property values. 

Hall explained, “Murray’s Accessory Dwelling Units allowance is carefully written to allow some affordable options for housing in established, single-family neighborhoods, but in a limited way that doesn’t impact the look or feel of the area. This helps the family renting the accessory unit and benefits the property owner too. 

“In many cases, this allows for families to stay in their homes and neighborhoods in Murray as they age, as well as providing an affordable opportunity to be part of a great Murray neighborhood to another family. Flag Lots and the Residential Infill Subdivision rules also allow property owners to maximize the use of their land without creating undue impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods.”   

Murray partners with Neighborworks, a non-profit organization with a mission to revitalize neighborhoods and create affordable housing, and to make funds available for low-cost mortgages and down payment assistance. Also, Murray works with Neighborworks to provide housing improvement loans to support the rehabilitation of aging housing stock.  

“The city values, and should, the existing housing. Many older homes provide a diversity of housing options and affordability that are important, and shouldn’t be overlooked,” said Hall.

More information about Murray’s housing resources can be found online under the community and economic development tab at www.murray.utah.gov. (www.murray.utah.gov/979/Housing-Resources)