Cache County Housing Crisis Task Force
The Cache County Housing Crisis Task Force was created in response to concern about our community’s extreme shortage of housing and unaffordable home prices, including how that shortage has affected the ability of employers to hire and grow.
“Progress on the housing crisis needs continued state and civic leadership. Without it, today’s children, Utah’s next generation, will face an even greater scarcity of affordable housing and more burdensome housing prices.”
(Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, December 2020)
2023 Report2023 Presentation
News and Resources
Do we have a housing crisis? The Milken Institute (2022) recently ranked the Logan, UT-ID Metropolitan Statistical Area as the #1 performing community in the nation! However, they ranked us No. 178 for housing affordability. How did we get here? From a huge demand for housing, driving up prices.
Milken Institute. (2022, March 28). Best Performing Cities 2022: Charting Economic Resilience and Opportunity. (https://milkeninstitute.org/report/best-performing-cities-2022)
Isn't most of that growth from all those people moving here from out of state? According to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, 85% of our past and future growth in Cache Valley is from our families. Many of those moving here have roots that brought them back.
Hollinghaus, K., Hogue, M., Harris, E., Bateman, M., Backlund, M., & Albers, E. (January 2022). Utah Long-Term Planning Projections: A Baseline Scenario of Population and Employment Change in Utah and its Counties. Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. (https://gardner.utah.edu/wp-content/uploads/LongTermProj-Jan2022.pdf?x71849)
Where did this demand come from? According to the US Census Bureau, Cache County has one of the top four highest birth rates, the youngest marriage age, and the second lowest median age out of 3163 counties.
U.S. Census. (2017, September 27). Birth Rates Vary from State to State. U.S. Census. (https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2017/09/baby-boom-births.html)
What is the impact on our schools? Our school district continues to build more capacity. The bond issue on this year's ballot would create two new elementary and two new middle schools and shift 6th grade from elementary to middle school to take the burden of a growing elementary school population. The enrollment at all Cache Valley high schools is beyond capacity. That growth in elementary and middle school enrollment will soon impact our high schools. The $139 Million Cache County School District bond is on this year's ballot. For more information on the bond, see: https://www.ccsdut.org/2023bond
When our kids finish school, will there be jobs available? Jobs and housing go hand in hand. Many recent examples show that businesses cannot attract employees because they can't find housing. As a result, job expansion happens outside the valley. Cache County already has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
Where will the housing for our children and grandchildren presently in our schools come from? Local governments need to plan to accommodate our young people. If not, we should be honest and let them know they should plan to find housing and jobs elsewhere.
What are the Consequences of Doing Nothing and maintaining the Status Quo?
How many homes are we talking about? The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah estimates that Cache Valley will need 11,600 housing units between now and 2030 to accommodate new household growth.
Eskic, Dejan. (2022, April 28). Utah Housing and Projections. Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute Presentation.
Should we only allow low-density single-family housing so every family has a quarter-acre and a backyard? In today's market, those homes are only affordable to some families. Family income needs to be from $150,000 to $200,000 to qualify. Out-of-staters who cashed in their home equity can afford these homes. Should we only allow housing that out-of-staters can afford instead of our children?
What do the residents of Cache Valley say? In October of 2023, Envision Utah released the results of a survey of 1753 Cache Valley residents. On the question of housing options, 67% choose the housing options that allow the most new housing in undeveloped areas, town centers, transit stations, and existing neighborhoods at a variety of price points. Respondents also specified that new housing should be built on smaller lots and more townhouses, duplexes, and accessory dwelling units. Only 14% wanted to restrict development to slow growth.
When the neighbors show up to oppose development, council members think they are voting for what the voters want, but this is the opposite of most of the public sentiment.
Recommendations of the Cache County Housing Crisis Task Force:
How can we make this work? Our state legislature has become increasingly tuned into the housing crisis issue, and taking control over local zoning is seriously being considered. Recent legislation has included increasingly coercive language. We'd better come together as a community to figure out how to make this work.