While much of the country experiences devastating decreases in home values, Utah real estate prices continue to rise dramatically. This trend can make it difficult for individuals and families to find the right home for their needs and budget since many home prices may increase in short periods of time while prospective homebuyers scout different communities. This guide to Utah County communities can help buyers narrow down the areas they’d like to investigate quickly and easily, bringing them closer to their dream of home ownership along the Wasatch Front.
Why Utah County?
When most people consider moving to Utah, the only city that comes to mind is the state capital, Salt Lake City. While the Salt Lake Valley – including Ogden, Logan, Sandy, Murray, and several other municipalities – is definitely booming, it is also more crowded and therefore less desirable for many incoming residents. Utah County, however, is conveniently connected to Salt Lake City via Interstate 15, and the road improvements made to accommodate the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City make commuting easy. Even the southernmost Utah County city is only an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City, making it within reasonable reach of the state’s largest city.
Utah County – also known as Utah Valley – offers many advantages for its residents. As home to Brigham Young University and Utah Valley State College (to become Utah Valley University in 2008), there are many educational opportunities for young residents. The area is also home to the Orem Owlz minor league baseball team and there are many recreational opportunities, including skiing, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor sports available. Utah Lake to the west and the Uinta National Forest, Mount Timpanogos, and various canyons to the east offer stunning natural beauty, while modern amenities such as the University Mall, Provo Towne Centre, Thanksgiving Point, Seven Peaks Water Park, and dozens of museums, theaters, and art galleries are available to stimulate any recreational passion.
Choosing Your Best Utah County Community
Individuals who decide to settle in Utah County will quickly find themselves beset with more than a dozen options for individual communities, and the wide range of choices can be disconcerting. Homebuyers who understand their personal preferences – types of homes, price range, amenities, etc. – can quickly narrow down the communities to those that best fit their needs. This list covers the major regions of Utah County that are most easily accessible to Salt Lake City and major transportation networks, therefore allowing residents to experience all the area has to offer.
Northern Utah County
The northern third of Utah County is closest to Salt Lake City and includes several small cities to choose from.
Alpine: This upscale city in the eastern part of northern Utah County features a wide range of custom designed homes in higher price ranges. Boutique shopping and easy access to ski resorts are popular features of this community.
Lehi: This community is one of the oldest in the county and offers a range of housing options in low to mid-prices. Newer developments in Lehi frequently feature town homes and semi-customizable floor plans from well known builders and developers.
American Fork: This is another classic community in the area and features homes in all price ranges. American Fork is adjacent to Interstate 15, making it a prime choice for individuals who commute regularly to the Salt Lake Valley.
Pleasant Grove and Lindon: These two small communities are nestled in the eastern portions of the northern county and both are growing rapidly. New school improvements are being made to support the population, and new single family home and town home developments are continuously available.
Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain: These two communities are west of I-15 and offer some of the most affordable housing and real estate options in Utah County, with some home prices as low as $150,000 for a spacious floor plan. Many new housing developments are in progress in both communities and town homes, single family homes, and luxury custom homes are all available. Large land parcels are also available for individuals interested in owning several acres.
Central Utah County
Central Utah County is the most developed area of the county and offers the widest range of cultural, sporting, shopping, and educational opportunities.
Provo: Provo is home to Brigham Young University and features all types of homes available. Older homes are relatively inexpensive options near downtown Provo, while newer developments on the eastern and western edges of the city offer more customization. There are also many town homes and apartment complexes available to serve the city’s large student population.
Orem: Just north of Provo, Orem has consistently been rated as one of the safest and most family-friendly cities in the United States. Dozens of parks abound throughout each neighborhood, and homebuyers can find houses in a range of styles and sizes. The entire range of home prices is represented in Orem, from small starter homes to extravagant luxury residences.
Southern Utah County
Furthest from Salt Lake City, the communities in southern Utah County are generally smaller than other options, but they also give prospective residents many choices for affordable housing that is still only minutes away from the features and amenities the rest of the county has to offer.
Springville: A few miles south of Provo, Springville has a range of modest housing options available to meet homeowners’ needs, and more housing developments are continually being built.
Spanish Fork: Still further south, Spanish Fork also offers a range of housing options at more affordable prices.
Payson and Santaquin: These two small communities are still relatively underdeveloped and lack the robust features of other cities in Utah County, but they also offer prospective residents the opportunity to settle into a rapidly developing area at an affordable rate.
Mapleton: This luxury community in southeastern Utah County features stunning custom homes with prices beginning at $250,000 and higher. Lower priced alternatives are starting to appear in Mapleton, giving more homeowners the chance to invest in this exclusive community with its pristine natural beauty and multiple outdoor recreational options.
Wherever prospective homebuyers choose buy Utah County real estate, they will find a community of welcoming, friendly residents genuinely eager to share their active, outdoor lifestyle. From exploring the Timpanogos Cave National Monument to rafting down the Provo River to enjoying the latest gallery display at the Springville Museum of Art, Utah County has something for everyone as long as they can find the right community to call home.