The Promise of Denver can only be realized when all people who want to work and live in our city can afford to call Denver home. That is not the case today.
We need housing solutions that benefit people across the income spectrum, particularly those in the “missing middle” who earn too much to qualify for most public assistance programs but struggle to make ends meet.
A sample of the bold ideas in my comprehensive housing action plan includes:
- Build more housing on existing public property. We will develop the many acres of unused or underutilized land already owned by the public, making new for-sale units available to families at prices they can afford. For example, we’ll build on surface lots, leaving the parking intact but adding much needed housing above, creating opportunities for residents to finally own equity and send their kids to school in neighborhoods they’re priced out of today.
- Rethinking and revitalizing downtown. We will aggressively work to transition vacant and underutilized office space into residential options and other needed uses, like childcare facilities. This strategy can simultaneously make downtown more vibrant, more affordable and more competitive for jobs.
- Empowering families to invest in their own property by jumpstarting the growth in Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) across Denver. We can do this providing homeowners tools such as pre-approved plans, access to streamlined and expedited approvals processes and low or no interest financing. Enabling more ADUs will help families stay in their neighborhoods by creating new sources of income and keeping multigenerational families together. More ADUs also means a much-needed boost to housing density.
- Addressing government efficiency by fundamentally changing the City’s approach to development, adopting a service-first mentality. If we’re to be successful in building enough housing, we must also address the delays, inefficiencies and outdated processes in city government that currently add unneeded cost and delays to projects. Real, meaningful reform is a big task that I will address head-on.
Statewide, Colorado has not built enough housing to keep up with its growing population – a deficit that has been growing for more than a decade. As of 2021, the state’s housing inventory was only 13% of what is needed for a properly functioning sales market.
Denver ranks as the 9th most expensive city in the country for renters, with average rent at $2,500, up nearly 46% since August 2021.
45% of renter households in Denver are paying more than 30% of their income in rent and 21% of renter households are paying more than 50% of their income in rent.
Denver ranks as the 8th most expensive metro area in the nation – just barely behind New York City – to buy a home.
Nearly a quarter of Denver homeowners (23%) are paying more than 30% of their income in housing costs.
Investors bought 24% of all Colorado homes sold in 2021.6 Institutional investors have been found to increase rent and fees by as much as 38%, and they’re three times more likely to buy in black and minority-owned neighborhoods.
In the first half of 2022 (January to July), just over 32,000 homes (detached and townhome/condos) were sold in the Denver-metro area. 70% of them were sold for $500,000 or more. Just 5% were sold for less than $300,000.