Letter: VRBO and Airbnb are driving up local housing market
In the past month, three families who I am close to (one in Carbondale and two in Glenwood) received notice that they need to be out of their homes within 1-3 months. They rent, and the owners want to remodel to sell or to move back in themselves.
It’s a tight market here presently with high prices and few options for renting and for buying. It continues to move people farther away from where they work, farther away from their main community and where their kids go to school. It leads some to leave this area completely — good people, positive contributing members to this valley who have lived here for years.
I get that VRBO and Airbnb are savvy business models and a way for homeowners to potentially make more money than they were or would with a long-term rental. I’m a small business owner and entrepreneur, and I’ve used Airbnb when I travel. I also get that it’s making this community into less of a community, leaving less options for long-term community members to acquire housing that works.
In searching for Airbnb in Glenwood Springs, there are many cute apartments, condos and houses that used to be available for long-term rentals, or would end up in the purchasing market and now are not. They are gone. And so will more and more of this community be if we’re not careful. This is one aspect of the housing crisis here. It saddens me and it’s stressful for people: hard-working people.
I’ve lived in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1989 (I was 8), and I’ve owned my business in Glenwood Springs for 10 years. Will my husband and I be able to purchase something that we like here or close by? Unknown. For now, we continue to rent our home and continue to plan and think creatively about how we will be able to own a home one day, if not here then somewhere else. It’s something that we think about, noticing the housing trends in the rental and buying market, and noticing how hugely this impacts so many members of the community. It would be a shame for these lovely people to make their home somewhere else. But people are, and it’s a loss to this community. Let’s fix it.
Alana Monge Hanks
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Less is more?