Second homes are coming in first in Summit County
Not surprisingly, a study released this week says that second homeowners are still going to be arriving in the High Country as a natural consequence of the aging baby boom generation.
In Summit County, where about two-thirds of homes are already owned by out-of-towners, the continued growth of second homes is somewhat daunting. The potential is upward price pressure that forces more locals out of the housing market.
That makes the grinding out of a new strategic plan for the Summit Housing Authority all the more important. It’s hard to see affordable housing as necessary in a soft market, but think back to they way things were in 2001.
And according to the study, the growth promises service demands on towns and county government that are largely absent today.
Next thing you know, people will be agitating to pave our dirt-road neighborhoods and install sidewalks and street lights. The horror of it. But we digress.
One of the first things aging people search out is quality medical care and a hospital.
Fortunately, the county commissioners and staff are working with St. Anthony’s/Centura on a significant upgrade of the Summit Medical Center.
What the study, performed by the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, has yet to detail is the impact second homes have on the economy and quality of life.
Without a doubt, as a similar study in Pitkin County uncovered about a half dozen years ago, second homes create service-economy employment and commuting pressure by the people doing the work. Service workers also need a place to live.
For all of this, it would be wrong to consider second homeowners evil. Often, they are the best supporters of the arts and charity. As they spend more time in the community, they breathe new life into community organizations and help sustain a year-round economy.
Furthermore, second homeowners are a salvation of the Summit School District. Because second homeowners don’t send children to local schools, their property taxes help elevate the quality of education for those who live here.
Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Aidan Leonard, Shauna Farnell and Martha Lunsky.
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