Housing costs in Colorado have been skyrocketing, and wage growth has not kept pace, leading to an affordability crisis in our state. Now, Colorado’s median home price is $570,000, and more than 50% of our renters are housing burdened. That means more than half of Coloradans can no longer afford to live here.
The question that’s on everyone’s mind has been when, or if, the market will “correct” itself and return to pre-pandemic levels of affordability.
The answer, according to new research from the Colorado Futures Center, is that it won’t—at least not on its own.
The new research found that housing values would have to decrease by 32% statewide to return to mid-2010’s levels of affordability; however, in many counties that number is much higher. For example, in Summit County, home of popular ski destinations like Breckenridge and Keystone, housing values would have to decrease by a whopping 51% to be as affordable to a family earning Colorado’s median income as it was in 2015.
Colorado Futures Center found that every single county in Colorado would require at least a 15% decrease in housing values to “correct” the market—and that’s a problem, given that over the last 35 years, the biggest drop the housing market saw was 4.5%.
This research confirmed that market adjustments won’t “take care” of the affordable housing crisis without very significant market pain and absolutely unprecedented value declines. It’s clear now that we cannot rely on the fluctuating market to keep Colorado affordable—but there is something we can do.
This November, Proposition 123, the “Make Colorado Affordable” measure, will be on the ballot statewide. Without raising taxes, Prop 123 will make housing more affordable for working people by providing down-payment assistance for first-time homebuyers, lowering rent, and building more affordable housing across the state. It will also support programs for homelessness relief, land banking, and loan financing, providing a full spectrum of solutions. Prop 123 will do this by requiring a small portion of the state budget be set aside to help fix Colorado’s housing crisis.
The market won’t fix itself. The people of Colorado are struggling under the weight of the cost of housing. It’s time to vote for change.
Voting yes on Prop 123 will finally give local communities the tools we need to address Colorado’s deepening housing crisis. Urban Land Conservancy is in proud support of Proposition 123.
Read more about the Colorado Futures Research here.