A big price correction alone won’t resolve Colorado’s housing affordability problem

Colorado home prices would need to fall by a third to restore affordability to 2015 levels, study finds

Aldo Svaldi
The Denver Post
Colorado home prices would need to fall by 32% to restore affordability levels back to where they were in 2015, before prices started surging in a big way. That is unlikely to happen, according to a study from the Colorado Futures Center.
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

Colorado home prices would need to fall by nearly a third to bring housing affordability in line with levels that existed in 2015, but that is unlikely to happen, according to a stark assessment from the Colorado Futures Center, which is affiliated with Colorado State University.

More precisely, home prices statewide would need to fall 32% to get affordability back to 2015, when three out of four homes were affordable to a household earning the state median income. The declines that would need to happen in each individual county ranged from 19% in Huerfano County on the low end to nearly 60% in Jackson County.

Costilla, Sedgwick, Summit and Grand are the other counties in Colorado that need to see a decline of about 50% or more to recapture prior levels of affordability.

“Colorado’s housing affordability challenge has been well documented, particularly as it became more acute in the second half of the last decade. The state’s strong recovery from the Great Recession and the pandemic, coupled with strong housing demand and limited supply on the market resulted in price pressures greater than any the state had seen in decades,” said co-authors Phyllis Resnick and Jennifer Newcomer in the report.

Why is 2015 a reference year? In 2007, 65% of the homes in the state were affordable to a household earning the median income. During the housing downturn, many borrowers lost their homes to foreclosure and prices dropped. By 2015, that affordability ratio has risen to 76% of homes affordable at the median level of income. Essentially, affordability went from two out of three houses to three out of four.


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