In resort towns like Glenwood Springs, home ownership continues to get pricier

The price of single-family homes in Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley has always run higher than the average Colorado home, but some say it’s now hit a crisis point.

The median price of a Glenwood Springs home was $713,500 in March — a 24.2% increase from last year’s median price of $573,500, according to the Colorado Association of Realtors.

There have been 39 homes sold in the first three months of 2021, up 9.5% from last year at the same time where 32 homes had been sold through March of 2020.

March had an inventory of 26 homes for sale, which was 53.6% less than the inventory for March of 2020, where 56 homes were listed for sale.

That’s the assessment of Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley Executive Director Kristen Wilmes.

“How are businesses going to be able to hire people at the wages they pay and have them live in our region and not be under the pressure of transportation?” Wilmes asked. “This has always been an expensive valley to live in. I moved here in 1988 and things seemed expensive at that point. They just continued to go up.”

Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in local communities across the United States and helps to build homes for families in need of decent and affordable housing.

When the organization started building homes in the Roaring Fork Valley, Wilmes said homes would be built one-by-one as lots were donated, which would allow the construction of two-to-three homes per year.

“But we really found that we need partners who are willing to donate large parcels of land,” Wilmes said. “We’re counting on entities like the school districts and towns — they do have parcels that they own that could be dedicated to affordable housing,”

The Roaring Fork School District made land available in Basalt for the construction of affordable, single-family homes. Pitkin County and Habitat For Humanity provided a total of $7 million in funding for the 27-unit project.

But Gail Schwartz, the nonprofit’s president, said the two biggest prohibitors to building more affordable homes in the area are limited access to land and a public policy that works against resort communities like Glenwood Springs.

“We need public policy that supports workforce housing and supports our ability to go into communities and have fees and permitting costs waived,” Schwartz said.

There’s also a need for policy that encourages development of affordable workforce housing.

“It’s been very difficult for resort communities to qualify for state and federal programs because our housing costs are high,” Schwartz said.

For those interested in becoming a homeowner, Schwartz said the first thing to do is contact a lender to see how much they’d qualify for, which would involve assessing their credit score and financial situation. A lender would be able to provide information on funding assistance a person may qualify for.

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or

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