Failure to Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis is Not an Acceptable Option
The first question most businesses in the Colorado River Valley ask of potential new hires is whether they have local housing. If the answer is “no,” the conversation shifts instantly because housing is the single biggest barrier to entry in our mountain communities.
When we talk about the affordable- and workforce-housing crisis in 2023, it’s critically important that we remember we were also calling it a housing crisis in 2020 before COVID-19, which changed our valleys forever.
In a study of Greater Roaring Fork Valley housing needs in 2017, a shortfall of 4,000 units was identified from Parachute to Aspen (including Gypsum and Dotsero) with a projected need of 6,800 units by 2027. That was before a supplemental study in 2022 showed the average home price in the region had increased 42%-71%, the average rent increased 40%, non-local home buyers increased 80%, and mortgage rates doubled. Plus, local wage increases continue to lag far behind the cost of housing and cost of living increases.