Wherever you may be living today, we have all felt the rapid rise in cost just to live. Now, some places saw bigger increases than others, and in Utah there was definitely an increase, but not as much as some places such as, Florida or California.

In 2023, Utah's population grew by over 50,000 residents. Migration to the state has actually accounted for a majority of the growth as compared to births.

Compare cost of Utah vs California

All of the major costs such as housing, taxes, groceries, and entertainment to give you an idea of what it may cost to live here day to day in Utah. And to put these costs into perspective, we are going to compare these costs here in Salt Lake City to what it would cost in Los Angeles.

According to realtor.com, the median sold home price in Salt Lake City is $506,000 for a home that is around 1,800 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Now in comparison, the median sold home price in LA is almost $950,000, which is dang near double.

If you were to just rent the median rate for a two bedroom apartment in Salt Lake City is just under $1,500 per month. In LA, also for a two bedroom apartment, the median rent rate is just over 3,000 a month. It's more expensive out in LA compared to Salt Lake City for housing.

Property Taxes

If we are taking that median sold rate for a home into consideration, what are the property taxes going to cost you? Well, here in Salt Lake City, the effective property tax is right around a half a percent. So on this $506,000 home, you'll pay just around $2,700 in property taxes.

Now in LA, you'll pay about 1.25% in property taxes. So on that $950,000 home, you'll pay around $12,000 in property taxes, which is insane. Definitely something to take into consideration wherever you may be considering to move.

Okay, so there are the property taxes. Now what about the income taxes? Well, Utah isn't as fortunate as some states such as Florida, Washington, and Texas, where there are not any income taxes. But Utah does have one of the lower rates at 4.65%, which is ranked as 15th lowest in the country.

Now in comparison, California has an income tax of 13.3%, which is good for the second worst in the whole country just behind New York. Again, something to take into consideration when looking to move somewhere.

Utilities Cost

Cost of utilites map

Now that we have the taxes out of the way, let's look at what it would roughly cost for utilities in the home. One thing you have to consider when living in Utah and paying utilities is that your electric bill and your gas bill will fluctuate depending on the season.

One thing we do love about Utah is that we do get all four seasons, and so you will use your gas and your electricity differently depending on that time of year. So during the hot summer months, you'll be running your A/C a lot more, therefore consuming more electricity to keep your house cool. During the Utah summers, you hardly use your gas, and so that gas bill stays pretty low.

And during the winter, this does flip. When it's cold outside, you'll turn that furnace on and consume much more natural gas to keep the house warm and use less electricity overall. Just whatever you use to power the lights, whatever electrical items you have in the house.

So according to this map on Move.org, you can see that the average utility cost for Utah is around $345 per month, which is considered one of the lowest costs per month in the country. California is only about $50 more per month, which is actually kind of surprising.

Now these numbers will vary depending on location within the state, if you have secondary water available, what internet service you use, or how cold and warm you like to keep your home.

Food Cost

Let's look at just some typical grocery items and what the difference is in the cost in Salt Lake versus the cost in LA. So we are going to look at similar items at popular grocery stores within each city. In Salt Lake, we're going to be shopping at Smith's Grocery, and in LA we will shop at Von's. I actually believe both are Kroger stores. So let's compare the prices of milk, eggs, and bread.

Smith's is in Salt Lake and Von's is in LA just as we mentioned. And for a gallon of milk, you're looking at 3.09 in Smith's and $4.99 at Von's. So it's just about $2 more. For the price of eggs, it's $2.39 at Smith's and $3.49 at Von's. So a dollar difference. And for bread, currently it's on sale at Von's, so it is cheaper in LA, but originally they're both right around $4.29. So around the same cost. You're looking, I'd imagine that you're going to pay a little bit more overall in LA just based off of these three items, but pretty comparable on certain items.

Now we all love our Cheesecake Factory, but did you know that there's actually a cost difference depending on where you live? So we actually created pick up orders for the Cheesecake Factory in Salt Lake and in LA for the exact same meal. We got the Caesar salad, the chicken madeira, which is amazing by the way, and a salted caramel cheesecake.

If you were to buy this meal in Salt Lake, you'll pay $52.00 for this meal. And I'm just realizing this is a pretty standard meal for one person and it costs $52.00. Let's now look at what it would cost for that exact same meal, but when ordering from the LA Cheesecake Factory. The exact same meal, but it will cost you almost $60. Just going to a chain restaurant, you can see the cost difference between the same restaurant and different locations.

Entertainment Cost

Let's look at what it costs to go see a movie. I went on to Fandango.com and picked the same movie and both at a Cinemark movie theater. Surprisingly, there's only a one or $2.00 difference for the two people to go see a movie in the two cities. That's not too bad and it'll cost you right around $27 to go see a movie.

Last price comparison we are going to do isgolf, so I wanted to see what the cost difference is to play a round of 18 with a cart in the two cities. One of my favorite Salt Lake City golf courses is Old Mill located up on the east bench of Salt Lake City. I could only find weekday rates for Old Mill, which said it would cost $40.00 for the 18 holes and an additional $20.00 for the cart, for a grand total of $60.

So I actually used to live in Pomona, California, which is just east of LA and I did play a few courses out there, and honestly, I felt the overall quality of the public courses in LA just did not compare it at all to the ones in Salt Lake. Salt Lake courses seem almost like country clubs compared to a lot of LA courses that I played. I found Los Verdes Golf course in LA. To play 18 holes during a weekday will cost you $44 and then an additional $15.50 for the cart for a grand total of $59.50. So really not too different for the two courses.


So there you have it, the costs of living breakdowns for Salt Lake City and how they compare to Los Angeles and what you can get for your money. This economy and inflation just seems to be getting more and more expensive each year, but if you can live somewhere where the costs are pretty manageable Utah is a great place, it can definitely improve your quality of life and how you feel about where you live. If you're ready to make a move here to Utah, you have to reach out to us, send us a text, give us a call, or shoot us an email.

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