Housing

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.

Poncie Rutsch / KUNC

Many of the more than 3 million migrant farm workers that plant and pick the fruits and vegetables we eat in the U.S. live on the farms they work for. But the rules governing farmworker housing may be changing, worrying both farmers and migrant worker advocates.

For decades, farmworker housing standards have been governed by two government agencies, the Employment and Training Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A proposal from the Department of Labor seeks to eliminate the ETA standards in favor of the OSHA guidelines.

Switching to OSHA guidelines could be costly for farmers, who would be stuck with the bill for retrofitting housing to OSHA’s rules.

Jim Hill / KUNC

Housing affordability comes down to more than just prices. Affordability is a mix of household income, home prices, and interest rates.

While steep increases in Colorado home prices have gotten a lot of attention lately, a study released from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, finds homes in Colorado are more affordable than they were prior to the recession.

Fort Collins Old Town Square Restoration

Fort Collins is no stranger to “best of” lists, with national recognition for everything from happiest residents to most entrepreneurial businesses to fittest citizens. The latest feather for the community’s cap comes from the Smithsonian, which dubbed the city a “Place of Invention.

Charleston's The Digital / Flickr-Creative Commons

Rent prices in the Denver area are going up faster than rents in San Francisco. The situation isn't any better in Fort Collins and Greeley. Each community experienced double digit growth in rental prices in 2014, and the trend is not showing signs of slowing down.

But maybe your rent is affordable. Or you bought your house decades ago. So why should you care if your neighbor down the street is paying a ton for her crappy apartment?

Flickr user Butterbean / Flickr-Creative Commons

A measure to make it more difficult for condo owners to sue developers over defects from construction died during the state Legislature's final full week in session.

Beyond developer support, affordable housing advocates had thrown their weight behind the bill. They say that threats of litigation and high insurance premiums have led to a slowdown in condo construction and an associated crunch in more affordable condo units. The Denver Post quoted Denver Mayor Michael Hancock as saying "Construction defects are severely slowing the construction of for-sale, affordable housing."

While there is no doubt that the Front Range has a shortage of affordable housing, a change to the construction defects law may not have provided a fix.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

There are a lot of people wanting to buy homes in Northern Colorado right now. The problem is there’s not many for sale.

This might seem like a great business opportunity for developers. Build more houses, and the buyers will come. A proposed development next to the Dry Creek neighborhood in northeast Fort Collins shows that the situation is more complicated than that.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

On a sunny afternoon in a quiet neighborhood in Fort Collins, school buses are rumbling by and people are out walking their dogs. Heidi McCoy, an energetic redhead in her thirties, is taking a peek over the fence at what will soon be her new home.

"The little yard is enclosed with trees and the yard sets back off from the other street as well," she said. "It just feels nice and quiet."

McCoy, who runs a martial arts school in the south of town, has been looking for a family-friendly home in a quiet neighborhood for a while. In this market, it's not an easy task. From Denver north to Fort Collins, Front Range homes are in high demand. And the market is taking its toll on those seeking a place to live. 

Jim Hill / KUNC

Northern Colorado is the fastest growing part of a fast-growing state. A recent release from the U.S. Census Bureau found that Greeley was the fastest growing area in the country, at 2.6 percent. During that same period, from July 2013 to July 2014, Fort Collins was the 12th fastest growing, at 2.4 percent.

While growth is often seen as good for the economy, the speed of the change is creating a housing crunch. From Denver to Fort Collins, renters and buyers are being squeezed.

Essentially, this is a supply and demand problem. There are too many buyers and renters, and not enough apartments and homes.

Joe Mahoney / Rocky Mountain PBS I-News, File

For families seeking affordable housing in Fort Collins, the best option might be to start searching somewhere else. While the city recently announced it would bump up its assistance to $15,000 for qualified families, the stock of homes meeting program criteria is almost nonexistent.

According to a KUNC search of available properties that meet the city's Homebuyer Assistance Program standards (the sale price must be under $237,500), there are 10 available properties in town that fit that requirement.

"Historically, the program has helped up to 40 households a year when there is sufficient affordable inventory," said Beth Rosen, the city's affordable housing administrator. "In 2014, I was only able to assist 8 households. In 2013, I assisted 15."

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