Are you thinking of moving to Utah? If so, you should be aware of all of the pros and cons of buying land within the state so that you know what you’re in for.
There has been a surge in people moving to Utah and buying up land and with the shining qualities that the state has to offer, it is easy to understand why. However, there are also some downsides to moving to Utah that you should consider before you jump the gun and buy up the first parcel that catches your eye.
The pros of owning land in Utah are the low property taxes, affordability, natural beauty, low crime rate, and promising economy. Whereas the cons of owning land in Utah are the income taxes, desolate locations, low appreciation rates, congested cities, and extreme climate.
Buying land is a major investment and for many people, it is the largest financial decision of their lives. Regardless of whether you want to acquire property to pursue development or if you are flipping real estate parcels as a source of income, Utah is a very promising location to buy land. For years, the ‘Beehive State’ has been an underrated real estate venture but that has been changing in recent years. Utah attracts visitors from all over the country for its natural beauty and lively capital city, but is it worth it to actually buy land there? Depending on where you buy your land and what your ultimate real estate goals are, Utah has the potential for being one of the best places to buy property in the country right now. With that being said, you want to carefully assess the qualities of each parcel that you look at so that you are aware of all aspects of your purchase before you make any commitments. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at the pros and cons of buying land in Utah.
After extensively researching Utah real estate opportunities, I have been able to gather enough information to determine the pros and cons of buying land within the state. My research has indicated that you should always consider the long-term goals that you have for your Utah land purchase before you commit to buying a property, as each parcel is different and will vary in financial returns.
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Pros: Owning Land in Utah
Depending on who you ask, the pros outweigh the cons of owning land in Utah. People from all over the country are flocking to this gorgeous Western State and for good reason. Let’s break down the pros of owning land in Utah.
1. Low Property Taxes
If you are looking to buy land in a state with low property taxes, you should keep Utah at top of your list. Property taxes in Utah are among the lowest in the country and they rank as the 11th lowest out of all 50 states.
Although property taxes can vary in Utah depending on a number of different factors, on average, you can expect to pay around $1,900 per year at a tax rate of roughly 0.58% annually. If you own land in a state with high property taxes, Utah is going to feel like a safe haven that is definitely worth moving to.
One of the main reasons why a lot of people are buying land in Utah is that property prices are quite affordable. The median cost of buying a single-family home within the state is roughly $490,000.
While this price may still be higher than some of the most affordable places in the country, you need to keep in mind that this is the cost of buying a developed property in an urban area. Small towns and suburbs can be considerably cheaper than this. There are plenty of homes on the Utah real estate market going for as little as $180,000 to $300,000.
In addition, land prices in rural areas are very well-priced. You can acquire raw land in Utah for $4,040 per acre. This makes the state promising for large-scale developments, as well as farming and resource harvesting.
3. Natural Beauty
While the low property taxes and affordable land prices are enough to encourage a lot of people to buy land in Utah, what tends to seal the deal for anyone who is on the fence is the natural beauty of the state.
Utah is loaded with stunning nature which results in nearly 20 million tourists visiting the Western State each year. As a Utah local, you have easy access to some of the nation’s most beautiful natural landscapes found in parks such as:
- Zion National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Arches National Park
Outdoor enthusiasts that enjoy hiking, camping, and outdoor sports fall in love with Utah, as the state ticks every box.
4. Low Crime Rate
When it comes to your home, you want to be assured that you are living in a safe place. You will be delighted to know that Utah has one of the lowest crime rates in the entire country.
The state currently ranks as the 10th lowest in the U.S. and the majority of the crime that does happen in Utah occurs in larger cities - with outer suburbs and rural areas staying very safe. This is an encouraging factor for a lot of families to move out to Utah.
5. Promising Economy
A long-term factor that a lot of land owners assess before committing to a parcel is the economy of the area that they are buying a property in. A thriving or rising economy is a good sign for future work and it also is correlated with land prices increasing over time.
Utah has a very promising economy moving forward - receiving a score of 71.33, which equates to the second-best economy in the U.S.
Cons: Owning Land in Utah
The perks of owning land in Utah are very attractive and the shining qualities of the state tend to be enough to convince a lot of people to make the move. However, before you start evaluating parcels, you should take note of the drawbacks of buying land in Utah. Let’s dive into the cons of owning land in Utah.
1. Income Tax
Depending on where you are moving from, this factor could be a major issue for you. Utah has a flat tax income tax rate of 4.95%. Although this is quite low compared to some of the state's neighbors, this can be a cringe-worthy thought if you are moving to Utah from a state that does not have any income tax at all.
If you factor in the low property tax in Utah, this is really not such a huge con. With that being said, if taxes are something that you want to avoid as much as possible, you should weigh out your finances carefully to see if buying land in Utah is financially viable with your long-term budget.
2. Desolate Locations
A lot of aspiring land owners with their eyes on Utah are attracted to the state’s low property prices. You must understand that the most affordable parcels on the market are often found in the countryside and in very desolate locations.
For homeowners that want solitude and to be immersed in nature, this is not such a bad quality. However, if you value having access to urban amenities and want to have the city within reach, you will find that land prices can be high by comparison - especially in Salt Lake City.
3. Land Appreciation
Land appreciation is a key characteristic that should always be evaluated before you buy a piece of real estate. Whether you are buying a property for the long haul as a permanent move or if you are flipping real estate, you want to see an active return on your investment.
Depending on where you buy land in Utah it could appreciate quite slowly. Traditionally, land appreciates considerably faster in urban environments, which is very much the case in Utah. If you are buying real estate in a city, your property will appreciate quickly - but you can expect the upfront cost to be considerably higher when making the purchase.
On the other hand, if you are buying land in a rural environment, the upfront cost of the land will probably be very reasonable. However, the appreciation rate of the parcel will be painfully slow.
4. Congested Cities
The population of Utah continues to increase rapidly. There are a number of factors contributing to this but one of the biggest is the rise in popularity of people moving to the state - resulting in urban areas in Utah becoming more congested than ever.
This can be a major issue for people that are moving to Utah hoping to find a quieter place with fewer crowds - especially if you are transitioning from a big city.
Traffic is becoming a problem for both cars and pedestrians, which can make navigating cities more tedious. With that said, congestion is by no means an issue in Utah if you are moving to a rural area or small town.
5. Extreme Climate
Utah is a state that has all 4 seasons but you can expect the intensity of some parts of the year to be much more severe, particularly summer and winter. If you are buying land in Utah, you will have to cope with the extreme climate which can be more than what some people signed up for when moving to the state.
Summers are extremely hot with average temperatures rising over 100°F degrees every year. Whereas winter is quite the opposite and you should expect well below freezing temperatures in December through February. If you are moving from a state that has a more stable climate, this can be a rough transition.
With that being said, the extreme winter weather can offer an incentive for some people to move to Utah. If you are fond of winter sports and don’t mind the cold, you will find that Utah is one of the best places in the country to move to.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down because of COVID-19. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling