Colorado is a beautiful place to live. From the agreeable year-round temperatures to the majestic mountainous backdrops, it’s one of the most desirable states to reside in. In fact, Colorado’s population has recently climbed by more than 100,000 in less than a 12-month span of time, according to a recent report. With the flooding of transplants; however, comes a series of concerns.
While many folks are migrating to Colorado in hopes of pursuing lucrative career opportunities, the reality is the job market cannot keep up with the dramatic increase of residents. According to a recent article in the Denver Post, economists are expecting a measly 10,000 to 20,000 jobs to develop in the state between now and the end of 2016, while the population is forecasted to grow by roughly 85,000 in that time frame.
As the economy continues to recover from its 2008 financial crisis, unemployment rates remain high in large portions of the United States. Aggressive competition among employment seekers is resulting in more working adults moving based on preferences in climate and activities offered rather than job growth, causing a domino effect in the rise of housing costs and the continual decline in employment opportunities.
The Reality Behind Real Estate
Though it was slow to rise after the housing crisis of 2008, the market has remained a seller’s market throughout most of the United States for the past couple of years. In the West; however, obtaining property comes with even more hoops to jump through. The Colorado Springs Real Estate Market Report for November 2016 indicated the average home in the Pikes Peak region was selling for roughly $288,000 (see graphic below) and 99% of homes were sold at or above listing price.
When my husband and I put an offer on a townhouse in the town of Parker, Colorado, we quickly learned we were up against 12 other bidders, most of whom had the ability to pay 20% down in cash. Needless to say, we were not victorious in our bid and were forced to face the harsh reality that homeownership in the Denver metro is reserved for only those with a pretty penny in their pockets.
Unemployment on The Rise
Currently, there are 250,000 individuals unemployed and actively seeking work in the state. More astonishingly, since March of 2016, the number of unemployed individuals in Colorado has grown by more than 13,000. College graduates are at an even greater disadvantage as they compete with other highly educated individuals for entry-level, low paying jobs, all while fighting to break down the ever-climbing wall of student loan debt accumulated. So what is the solution? Relocation. The very reason many transplants moved here is what’s now driving them away.
While we don’t know what the future of Colorado holds, what we can expect is that at some point, enough will be enough. As the local economy stabilizes and the net migration slows, Coloradans will begin to see job opportunities open up and housing become easier to secure. For now though, it continues to be a game that no one can win.