Use economic breather to snag affordable housing |

Use economic breather to snag affordable housing

End-of-year economic indicators in Garfield County show that new construction and remodeling is stagnant or has dropped in all areas except Rifle. Meanwhile, the selling price for real estate continues to creep upward.

Frankly, the slowdown is a welcome breather from the non-stop development frenzy that pervaded the region up through 2001.

That’s not to say folks haven’t suffered some since then. Sales have leveled off or dropped, and the relatively higher vacancy rate for housing indicates that many folks have simply moved on rather than trying to make it in this costly economy.

What we are seeing now may be something closer to a normal economy in terms of growth and new construction.

But the two-year economic dip has only served to slow, not reverse, the most pricey aspect of life in this area: the cost of real estate. Sellers are waiting a bit longer before a buyer comes along, but most are still getting within 4 percent of their asking price.

With the average selling price of single-family homes ranging from $151,000 in Parachute to $435,000 in Carbondale, Garfield County remains a tough place for working-class folks to buy in and settle down.

The pressure is eased somewhat for rentals, but our community focus should continue to be aimed at making purchased housing affordable for the workers needed to sustain our communities.

Elected officials should continue their push toward securing more affordable housing. This breather may offer a chance to make some gains that may not be possible later if the economy heats up again.

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