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Nearly 90% of Coloradans Worried about State’s Cost of Living, poll finds

n a recent poll of nearly 3,000 Coloradans, 88% of respondents said the rising cost of living is a serious problem in the state. In the Denver metro area, 31% said they are worried about losing their home, according to the poll from the Colorado Health Foundation.

“Lack of resources for the growing number of people moving here,” one person surveyed said when asked about the most important issue facing Colorado.

 

According to a recent report from national rental marketplace Zumper, rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Denver has jumped 26.6% from this time last year. Denver’s two-bedroom rentals are up 14.8%.

While Denver saw more properties on the market this April compared to April 2021, the average home sale price in Denver hit $726,988, making homeownership unaffordable for many potential buyers.

Even 83% of the individuals surveyed in the poll who reported earning more than six figures said that the rising cost of living is a serious problem in Colorado.

Affordability in Colorado is disproportionately impacting people of color, with higher percentages than white respondents reporting in the poll that they’re concerned about losing their homes, have cut back on food or health care to afford housing or worked multiple jobs to afford housing.

The majority of nearly 3,000 Coloradans surveyed in the poll, including Democrats, Republicans and independent voters, agreed that policy change is necessary to lower housing costs.

Two of the most popular solutions in the poll were ensuring landlords cannot raise rents on current tenants too quickly (74% agreed) and requiring developers to build housing for people with lower income levels (71%).

The City of Denver is seeking to address affordability with a proposal mandating that new development include a certain amount of affordable units. The Denver Community Planning and Development told Denver Business Journal that 1,202 affordable units with city financing are already under construction as of this month, with an additional 779 income-restricted units in the planning stage.

Businesses are also seeking to address the shortage of affordable housing, for example in mountain towns, where Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN) is investing in 876 affordable units specifically for workers at some of its most high-profile, and expensive, ski resorts.

But some Coloradans are simply choosing to leave the state, which may become an increasingly popular option with remote work making it possible to live in less expensive areas. At the end of last year, around one in four Denver homebuyers were looking to relocate, according to Redfin data. Cities with high costs of living were seeing the most interest in net homebuyer outflow in that study.

And according to U.S. Census Bureau data, 12,606 fewer people moved to Colorado in 2021 than in 2020. While 2021 saw the smallest population gain for Colorado since 1990, the Centennial State had 15% more people moving out than moving in, according to HireAHelper.

Some of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. are nearby, including in Utah, Arizona and Texas, according to Rocket Mortgage. A LinkedIn report last year found that Phoenix was one of the top destinations for Denver users who had left the city over the past two years.

 
 
By   –  Intern, Denver Business Journal