This morning on our monthly radio show – a partnership with KGNU Radio – Elvira Ramos, Vice President of Programs and Inclusive Leadership, was joined by Boulder County real estate experts DB Wilson (RE/MAX of Boulder) and Marta Loachamin (ERA Tradewind Real Estate, Longmont) in a discussion about what's happening in the county’s housing market…and the ripple effects of the high cost of living here.
DB pointed out that housing inventory hasn’t kept pace with Colorado’s population explosion in recent years – the vast majority of which have settled in the Front Range. (Indeed, The Denver Post reported less than a year ago that, behind North Dakota, Colorado is the fastest-growing state in the nation).
To boot – given that Boulder County owns or oversees hundreds of thousands of acres of open space, thereby conserving natural, cultural and agricultural resources – DB noted there’s limited land to build on. “I don’t think we can create enough housing to really bring down prices,” he said.
Providing further context, Marta offered this definition of “affordable housing”: “We're talking about properties at [or below] $250K,” she said. She went on to say that such housing opportunities are now “extinct” in Boulder County.
As a result, families end up living in Greeley, Frederick, or Firestone in Weld County – and elsewhere – commuting to Boulder County for work. As a result, they are less connected to, and invested in, our local community. Additionally, a lack of sufficient public transportation means more people have to get in their cars to drive to work – which, in turn, negatively impacts our shared air quality and environment.
“We’re pushing people out of our communities,” added Marta, noting a resulting lack of diversity – in terms of racial, ethnic and cultural diversity, socio-economic diversity, and diversity in age.
“Kids and youth and families make a community vibrant, but they’re being edged out of Boulder,” said DB. “One of the things we’re seeing in the City of Boulder is the aging of the population.”
While DB expects the rapid rate of local housing appreciation to slow eventually, “it doesn’t mean prices will go down significantly,” he said.
How to address this challenge? DB suggests government programs to “get more people into housing, such as down payment assistance.”
Marta encourages more of us to get involved in local government, emphasizing the urgency of prioritizing homebuyers over investors. As a bilingual realtor, she’s also focused on educating local Hispanic families on proven principles
to develop personal success, create individual financial wealth, and help our communities thrive: "Homeownership is a proven step to building family wealth and security."
If you missed the live broadcast, you can still listen to it here. Be sure to tune in next month (May 22) for our next community conversation.
Related resources referenced in this broadcast: