Housing in Orem


“Orem seeks to be a city that is friendly for families at all of life’s stages. To accomplish this, a variety of housing options need to be supplied. When a young individual leaves home to study at Utah Valley University, they need to find student housing. If that individual decides to get married, they will seek an affordable place for a young couple. If that couple decides to have children, a larger home will be sought. 

When those children leave, that couple may wish to downsize. And if a partner dies, a widow or widower may prefer to live in a senior community where they can find support. Orem is greatly benefited by the contribution of its long-term residents. These are the residents that often donate countless volunteer hours and make meaningful contributions to their communities. To ensure these residents can stay long-term, it is important that the City make plans to allow for a variety of housing for all life stages.” – Orem General Plan, Chapter 4, Housing.


Below are drop downs showing housing information the Orem General Plan, Housing Map Studies, Census Data, and State Moderate Income Housing Compliance. More data and studies will be added in the future. 

The Orem General Plan has land use classifications and maps for all the different residential land uses citywide. 

Residential Zoning in Orem has the following classifications:

  • Low Density Residential (below 4 units per gross acre)- The Low Density Residential (LDR) classification is established to provide the majority of the housing stock within Orem. Typical suburban neighborhoods with single family homes on individual building lots should comprise the majority of development within the LDR classification. Low density planned residential developments should be scattered evenly throughout the city subordinate to the single family home. This is less 4 units per gross acre.
  • Medium Density Residential (4 to 7 units per gross acre) – The Medium Density Residential (MDR) classification is established to provide for transitional areas where a higher density than the LDR classification is justified. An overall housing density between four (4) units per gross acre and seven (7) units per gross acre is acceptable within the MDR classification. 
  • High Density Residential (above 7 units per acre) – The High Density Residential (HDR) classification is established to provide areas for apartment and condominium buildings. 

Link: https://orem.org/generalplan/

Orem Staff has mapped the development of higher density develompents throughtout the city: 

Orem City Housing Unit Totals:

Total Occupied Housing Units: 29,593

Total Owner-Occupied Housing Units: 17,913, 60.5%

Total Renter-Occupied Housing Units: 11,680, 39.5%

Data Source: Data Compiled from 2021 ACS 5-year estimates, Table S2504

Orem City Housing Types:

Housing Type

Number of Units

Percent of Total Housing Units

Single Family Homes



Twinhomes, Townhomes



2 Apartments or Condos



3 or 4 Apartments or Condos



5 to 9 Apartments or Condos



10 or more Apartments or Condos



Mobile home or other type of housing:



Data Source: Data Compiled from 2021 ACS 5-year estimates, Table S2504

Orem City Owner-Occupied Housing Units:

Total Owner-Occupied Housing Units: 17,913

Housing Type

Number of Units

Percent of Total Owner-Occupied Housing Units

Single Family Homes



Twinhomes, Townhomes



2 Apartments or Condos



3 or 4 Apartments or Condos



5 to 9 Apartments or Condos



10 or more Apartments or Condos



Mobile home or other type of housing:



Data Source: Data Compiled from 2021 ACS 5-year estimates, Table S2504

Orem City Renter-Occupied Housing Units:

Total Renter-Occupied Housing Units: 11,680

Housing Type

Number of Units

Percent of Total Renter-Occupied Housing Units

Single Family Homes



Twinhomes, Townhomes



2 Apartments or Condos



3 or 4 Apartments or Condos



5 to 9 Apartments or Condos



10 or more Apartments or Condos



Mobile home or other type of housing:



Data Source: Data Compiled from 2021 ACS 5-year estimates, Table S2504

Owner & Renter Occupied Comparison Report: 

Brought to you by

An accessory apartment by City definition means a subordinate dwelling, which has its own eating, sleeping, and sanitation facilities, within a main residential building.

The City’s ordinance requires that the owner of the property on which is located an accessory apartment live in either the main residential building or in the accessory apartment within the main residential building.

Total Number of Legal Accessory Apartments (June 2023): 752

Number of Accessory Apartments Year to Date 2023 (As of end of June 2023) : 23

Number of Accessory Apartments 2022: 30

  • The Importance of Planning for Moderate Income Housing

The Utah Code of Amendment sections 10-9a-103(40) and 17-27a-103(43) define moderate income housing as “housing occupied or reserved for occupancy by households with a gross household income equal to or less than 80% of the median gross income for households of the same size in the county in which the city is located.” By planning for moderate income housing, Orem will be able to target and direct housing development that will address housing gaps, disparities and pressures that all experience as communities age and grow. Continually planning and imagining housing types, strategies etc, will help to limit the cost burden  residents experience in owning a home.

Planning for moderate income housing by identifying key strategies and mapping out implementation is within the general plan is a major first step. For a greater impact, and to ensure those strategies and implementations continue to work in the future, it’s imperative to analyze and revise this planning regularly. Our communities are forever changing and the direction and planning we take must be adjusted accordingly to ensure we’re supporting existing and future residents throughout Orem.

Benefits and Limitations

Per the State code for these requirements, there are benefits for those jurisdictions that meet, or even exceed, the minimum moderate income housing requirement. Priority consideration for the Transportation Investment Fund of 2005, including the Transit Transportation Investment Fund is available for jurisdictions which surpass the minimum number of strategies in their general plan element as follows: 


Minimum # of Compliant Strategies Required

Minimum # of Compliant Strategies Required for Priority Consideration




Municipality without fixed guideway transit stations



Municipality without fixed guideway transit stations



Alternatively, jurisdictions that do not submit their annual report or do not meet the minimum requirements will be deemed ineligible for the following funding:

  • Transportation Investment Fund of 2005, including the Transit Transportation Investment Fund and
  • State Tax Commission Distribution of Sales and Use Tax to fund Highways for certain jurisdictions (UCA 59-12-2220)

Additionally, starting in 2024, a $250/day penalty fee will be applied to communities which are determined to be non compliant and ineligible for the above funding sources. At the beginning of a community’s consecutive year of being ineligible for funds, the fee will double to $500/day. 

Planning Moderate-Income Housing and Reporting

Recent legislation made significant revisions to the moderate income housing element in the state code. Through this legislation, greater clarity as well as new strategies were outlined as options to be used within moderate income housing plans. The requirement for the moderate income housing element and reporting of progress toward implementation was also amended. 

On January 9, 2023, the Orem City Council amended the Orem General Plan to adopt 5 strategies and required implementation. The 5 strategies are listed below. You may read the implementation plans for each in Chapter 4 of the General Plan.

  1. UCA 10-9a-403(2)biii (E) create or allow for, and reduce regulations related to, internal or detached accessory dwelling units in residential zones;
  2. UCA 10-9A-403(2)biii,  (X) demonstrate implementation of any other program or strategy to address the housing needs of residents of the municipality who HOUSING earn less than 80% of the area median income, including the dedication of a local funding source to moderate income housing or the adoption of a land use ordinance that requires 10% or more of new residential development in a residential zone be dedicated to moderate income housing; and
  3. UCA 10-9a-403(2)biii (Q) create a housing and transit reinvestment zone pursuant to Title 63N, Chapter 3, Part 6, Housing and Transit Reinvestment Zone Act;
  4. UCA 10-9a-403(2)biii (V) develop and adopt a station area plan in accordance with Section 10-9a-403.1;
  5. UCA 10-9A-403(2)biii (L) reduce, waive, or eliminate impact fees related to moderate income housing; 

On August, 1st, 2023 Orem submitted the required Report on progress of Implementation of these Strategies.

As part of the Orem General Plan, a Moderate Income Housing Study was completed in 2018. The purpose of this study is to understand the current challenges in the housing market and examine the options available to provide a reasonable opportunity for a variety of housing, including moderate income housing. Strategies that will encourage affordable housing in Orem are recommended, and it is intended that this study will be the basis for ongoing discussions by the City Council to develop a moderate-income housing plan and ensure that Orem remains a City where everyone is welcome.

Until recently, the Utah housing market provided more new housing units than new households–in other words, the supply of housing kept up with the demand. Since 2011 this has not been the case. The reasons for this are varied, but chief among them are land constraints, restrictive zoning ordinances, and rising construction costs. While these are national trends, Utah has been disproportionately impacted due to our larger than average families and our high rate of population growth.

Compared to the Utah County and State average, households in Orem that make roughly 80% of the household area median income are more likely to find housing that does not exceed 30% of their income (the general measure of affordability). This is due in large part to Orem’s long history of zoning for a range of housing types, many of which offer lower housing costs. Housing options in Orem include smaller single-family homes on smaller lots, as well as accessory apartments, duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, and larger multifamily housing.

Despite this, affordability is still an issue in Orem. To allow for strategic growth and help increase the supply of housing, the Orem City Council has adopted the City Center District mixed-use zone and is considering additional Districts along State Street. As well, Orem will be exploring other strategies to increase the supply of affordable housing in the City, as outlined in this study. Ultimately, Orem recognizes that this a regional issue, and the City is committed to being part a regional response.

To view the Orem Moderate Income Housing Study, click on the link below:

Orem Moderate-Income Housing Study