Opinion: Boulder Should Open Its Doors to Development, But Not Rent Control
Convergence Rental Housing Principal Lauren Brockman outlines why Boulder’s housing affordability crisis can best be addressed by providing those in need with financial assistance, increasing development in the city, and avoiding rent control ordinances.
Colorado’s housing affordability challenges have been felt in every corner of the state. The problem is particularly acute for extremely low-income renters, with almost three-quarters spending more than half of their income on housing. The increased cost of housing is in part driven by demand — a nearly 15 percent increase in population from 2010 to 2020, but new deliveries of housing did not keep pace with this growth. And despite already facing a housing shortage, between now and 2030, Colorado will need to build 7,178 new apartment homes each year to keep up with new demand.
Boulder serves as an excellent case study on the state of the Colorado housing market and the barriers to addressing the need for more housing. Boulder’s plight is a direct function of its growth limitation – that is the 1 percent annual growth moratorium. After decades of artificially capping the city’s ability to meet demand, Boulder now has the highest median home price on the Front Range, in excess of $780,000, along with astronomical rental prices. Extreme home price appreciation is great for the lucky few who were able to get in many years ago but is devastating for every future resident who wants to call the city home.
Neither Boulder, nor the entire state, are immune from the laws of supply and demand. This is why there is bipartisan support at the statehouse for stopping future “slow-growth” initiatives. If there is one thing Republicans and Democrats can agree upon, it’s that we need enough housing to ensure a prosperous, equitable future for all Coloradoans. This legislation is a great first step, but what else can we do — both here in Boulder and throughout the state — to better combat these housing affordability challenges?
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