No. 7

Syracuse, Utah

Last year, more than half a million people passed through Syracuse to reach Antelope Island, a 28,000-acre Utah state park and the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. Visitors can enjoy 45 miles of hiking and mountain bike trails and gawk at one of the nation’s biggest herds of free-ranging bison.

The park’s popularity has surged in recent years, which is one of several reasons Syracuse, the only entry point, has seen 10% job growth since 2016. At the end of last year, the unemployment rate in Syracuse was just 2%, and the local job market has held up during the pandemic. Unemployment was 4.7% in June — less than half the national rate at the time. Even though the coronavirus has put most tourism on hold, the city’s long-term prospects are strong. The Hill Air Force Base is a major job center in the area and is expected to add as many as 5,000 new jobs in coming years.

To meet new demand, the city has been discussing proposals to build additional housing, particularly alternatives to the single-family detached homes that make up most of the local stock. Very few homes are vacant in Syracuse and new listings tend to sell in just 18 days (which is lightning fast, even for today’s ultra-competitive national housing market).

Currently, 86% of households in Syracuse own and the median sale price is $308,000. While that is higher than Utah at large — and much higher than in nearby Ogden — the local median income is higher as well: $90,000. — Samantha Sharf

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