The cost of renting a two-bedroom home in Durango rose 20% in four years, bringing the median cost to $1,400 per month, according to a new housing report.
Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado released a new report this week detailing the high prices renters faced across the region in 2018 and how much residents need to earn to afford a home.
In Durango, median rents rose steeply for two- and three-bedroom homes compared with the same report released by Region 9 in 2015. The median rent for a three-bedroom home rose about 18%, up to $1,759 per month. A household would need to earn $70,000 annually to rent a three-bedroom home, the report said.
Laura Lewis Marchino, executive director at Region 9, said she doesn’t expect rising housing costs to slow down.
“As long as people want to live in Durango, it will continue to grow,” she said.
The shortage of housing and the shortage of labor to build new housing is contributing to the housing problems in the region, she said.
Rent didn’t rise for every size of home in Durango.
The price of a one-bedroom unit in Durango fell from more than $1,000 per month in 2015 to $950 in 2018. A resident needs to earn $38,000 to rent a one-bedroom home in Durango.
Median rent in Bayfield for one-, two- and three-bedroom units also rose in 2018 compared with 2015, according to the reports. Median prices for a one-bedroom home in Bayfield rose from $715 in 2015 to $737 in 2018 and for a two-bedroom home from $1,017 to $1,190 over the same time period. A household would need to earn $47,600 annually to rent a two-bedroom home in Bayfield.
The high housing costs, particularly in Durango, can lead to lower-wage workers commuting and hurt renters’ ability to save to purchase a house, Lewis Marchino said.
It is possible more workers, in lower-wage jobs in the tourist industry, may be moving to northern New Mexico, where housing prices have fallen with the decline of the oil and gas industry, she said.
“They would rather give up their time than their money,” she said of commuters.
While the housing shortage persists, new apartment construction is a hopeful sign for renters, said Donna Graves, who worked on the report.
“There’s more units available out there and that is a need that has been perceived a long time,” she said.
New affordable housing units are planned at Three Springs and on 32nd Street in Durango. Residents will have to qualify based on income for the new homes.
A major new market-rate apartment complex, Rocket Pointe, on Escalante Drive between Walmart and Home Depot, opened the first of its 194 apartments in January, said Lynda Dorka, property manager. The entire complex is 23% occupied and 43% leased, and 96 units remain to be completed, she said. One-bedroom apartments at the new complex start at $1,225.
Demand for apartments was a bit slower than expected, she said, but demand picked up with spring weather.
“As soon as the weather turned, it’s been crazy,” Dorka said.