Housing | KUNC


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Years ago, neighborhoods throughout Colorado were a little more diverse - both culturally and socioeconomically. Now that the state has become a more desirable place to live, diversity in some cities may be at stake.

Fort Collins filmmaker Shari Due’s new documentary, Desplazado (Displaced), looks at the growing issue of gentrification in Colorado.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

The Front Range's booming economy is good news for many. Yet fast growth has caused a housing crunch from Denver to Fort Collins.

Rising rents and home prices are squeezing a vulnerable population: seniors. Groups that work to help lower-income older adults say they are having a harder time placing seniors in subsidized housing and also starting to see more of this population lacking a place to call home.

Bradley Gordon / Flickr-Creative Commons

If you thought Colorado's housing market was crazy last year, then the outlook for 2016 probably won't calm your nerves.

Strong economic growth and continued low inventory will likely keep the market hopping, say experts. While interest rates have ticked up, they are not likely to do so significantly in an election year. That means money is still cheap, another factor pushing buyers into the market.

National Institute For Environmental Health Sciences

Only one of the fastest growing counties in Colorado requires new homes to be built with a system to mitigate a cancer causing gas.

“Surprisingly the entire state of Colorado is what we call red zone for radon. Typically statewide about 50 percent of homes test above the [Environmental Protection Agency] action level of 4 picocuries per liter, so we’re pretty high risk all around the state,” said Colorado radon program manager Chrystine Kelley.

Health officials estimate that about 500 Coloradans die every year from radon induced lung cancer.

David Fulmer / Flickr - Creative Commons

"Colorful Colorado" may one day need to be referred to as "Crowded Colorado," given the number of people expected to soon move here.

Weld County's population is expected to double to half-a-million – and El Paso County will still be the largest county. It's not just the Front Range; A Rocky Mountain PBS I-News analysis of data from the state demographer and the U.S. Census Bureau shows seven of the 10 fastest growing counties will be on the Western Slope, including Eagle, Garfield and Routt.

The numbers show an estimated 7.8 million people will call Colorado home by 2040. All that growth will take a toll on the state's infrastructure as well as water and other natural resources.

Colorado State Demography Office

Northern Colorado's home and condo prices are not ticking up quite as fast as they were earlier in 2015. But the lull is typical heading into winter, say real estate experts.

If you look year over year, the median single family home price of $304,000 for the Northeast Region, which covers Boulder, Larimer, Logan, Morgan and Weld counties, is still nearly 15 percent higher than the $265,000 it was at this time in 2014.

Prices for townhomes and condos market are also staying up. With a median price of $225,000 in the Northeast Region, the prices for these units are 19 percent higher versus the same time in 2014.

Jim Hill / KUNC

Boulder has a housing affordability problem. Ideas on how to fix that problem, though, vary widely across the community. At recent meetings touching on occupancy limits, linkage fees and other topics, city council members have heard from vastly disparate perspectives.

City of Greeley

With crude at about $40 a barrel and no oil price recovery in sight, one might expect that Greeley, the town at the center of Colorado’s oil boom, would be seeing a bit of an economic slowdown.

So far, that does not seem to be the case. At least where the housing market is concerned.

Poncie Rutsch / KUNC

Leasing an apartment or home has never been an easy process, but imagine navigating a househunt with limited English skills. Every showing requires a translator, or really, anytime you have to communicate with a landlord; for example, when something breaks.

Miscommunications are easy, which is one reason why One Morgan County, a nonprofit in Fort Morgan, Colorado, hosted a meeting to help untangle the rights and responsibilities of tenants.

“There’s issues on both sides of this,” says executive director Michaela Holdridge. “And we really figured this would be a good time to discuss this, and say ‘OK, what is your understanding of your rights as a tenant?’”

Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

Since June 2014, home prices in Northern Colorado rose more than they did in metro Denver, according to numbers released by the Colorado Association of Realtors.

Statewide, the median sales price for a home has increased 11.4 percent. In the region including Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties, prices have gone up 15.6 percent in that year-long span; in the metro Denver region, the increase was 13.7 percent.