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Phil Lyman’s plan to fix Utah’s housing affordability crisis

A recent poll by the Utah Foundation revealed that unaffordable housing is a top concern for Utah residents.

As candidates gear up for major political races, the question on everyone’s mind is: What’s the plan?

Phil Lyman, running for Utah governor, asserts that his approach stands out by championing free market solutions and reducing government intervention.

Many of the state’s current housing affordability issues can be traced back to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute‘s recent report on the State’s Housing Market highlights significant impacts on residential construction, home sales, and affordability, reminiscent of the Great Recession.

Lyman blames this on various factors, including stimulus payments, low interest rates, remote work and supply chain disruptions, calling it “one of the worst market failures in our state’s history.”

Lyman opposes Gov. Spencer Cox’s initiative (HB572) to build 35,000 starter homes, arguing that it’s not a sustainable solution.

In fact, Lyman was one of just a handful of representatives and senators who voted against HB572. He did so because he believes government is not the solution to a predicament created by the government. Instead, he says what Utah needs is a principled leader to fix it.

“I don’t believe the government can fix our housing market, but we do need to enact some serious reforms to get the government out of the way,” he says.

Here are the reforms he’s promoting as part of his campaign to be Utah’s next governor.

Illegal immigration

A top priority on Lyman’s plan to address the housing affordability crisis is tackling illegal immigration. The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute’s report also found that the state is about 37,000 housing units short of meeting the population’s demands. Meanwhile, a proposed bill from Utah’s legislature (HJR012) notes that there’s an estimated 137,000 illegal immigrants currently living in the state.

Lyman believes that stopping an influx of illegal immigrants is key to stabilizing the housing market. He adds that a secure border, followed by a rational, legal immigration process is the only way to ensure that the country’s infrastructure, housing supply and labor markets put the needs of American families first.

Lyman fears that a negligent immigration policy may be robbing Utahns of their future and forcing them to export their children to states with lower housing costs.


According to a 2023 state audit, Utah got about 26.5% of its state revenue from federal dollars.

Lyman believes that this means the state government is fueling the inflation that’s destroying Utah’s purchasing power, raising prices for goods and forcing the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates high.

“Unchecked government spending paid for with printed dollars is driving the inflation that is making homes unaffordable,” Lyman says. “We shouldn’t be using tax dollars to find billion-dollar homes for baseball and hockey teams until we find affordable starter homes for Utah families.”

Phil Lyman's plan to fix Utah's housing affordability crisis
Photo: Phil Lyman for Governor

Utilizing natural resources to stabilize supply chains

Lyman also believes that Utah’s natural resources may be another key to fixing the affordability issue.

The timber industry in Oregon estimates that 15 billion board feet of timber was lost in the 2020 Labor Day fire which burned more than 1 million acres of forest. It takes 12,600 board feet to build a 2,000-foot home, according to The House Designers. This means the Labor Day fire destroyed the raw materials needed to build 1,190,476 homes. Rising costs of materials such as concrete and copper, partly due to inflation and government policies, further strain affordability.

Data collected by highlights the least and most affordable states to buy a home — Utah is in third place for least affordable. It’s worth noting that of those top 10 least affordable states, nine are Western states where the federal government owns significant amounts of land. reports that approximately 71% of the state consists of public land that the state or federal agencies manage. Lyman believes these management decisions limit natural resource use. He says that Utah must prioritize using its own resources to ensure affordable housing for all.

Property taxes

Even if you have a COVID-era interest rate on your mortgage, you will likely notice that the share of your mortgage going towards property taxes has crept stubbornly upwards in recent years.

“Utah should only tax property based on its assessed value at the time of purchase or refinance,” Lyman argues. “We don’t pay capital gains taxes on unrealized gains in our stock portfolios, and we shouldn’t have to pay for unrealized gains for the property that we own. Reigning in autopilot property tax increases would immediately make homeownership more affordable.”

Phil Lyman and Natalie Clawson
Phil Lyman and Natalie Clawson (Photo: Phil Lyman for Governor)

Phil Lyman’s promise to Utahns

Lyman believes that Utah will have affordable housing again, but it will require leadership rooted in commitment to the principles of free markets, limited regulation and low taxes.

Phil Lyman sees better roads ahead for Utah, and he will fight to make sure these roads lead to affordable homes in thriving communities. Find out more at

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