When I signed on as a contributor to UrbDeZine I promised Bill Adams that I would post at least once a month. I think I’m slightly off schedule. My excuse is that I’m in the middle of a move from Pennsylvania to Colorado and things have been a little bit stressful.
But while I was in Colorado recently searching for a rental house I had a dilemma that seems relevant to this blog’s subject matter – a serious housing crisis in Northern Colorado. According to anecdotal data I’ve heard from friends, the rental vacancy rate in Fort Collins (where we’re moving) hovers at about 1%. My experience seems to bear this out – as I was viewing properties, I felt like I was in New York City’s notoriously competitive market. Properties were being rented out from under my nose while I was viewing them, or they were rented before I received a return call or email from the landlord. I finally lucked into a darling house close to City Park, but only by kismet involving checking Craigslist at exactly the right moment, and the landlord being able to meet me on his lunch hour.
I’ve never been a fan of wide-open policies on residential development, but in a housing market this tight it seems like inventory expansion is key. According to demographic data Fort Collins could see up to 30% population growth in the next 20 years. Since I’m a land use lawyer I hope to find a role to play in addressing this issue, both in terms of responsible development in general and affordable housing development in particular. More than that I don’t know until I’m on the ground and able to see specific needs and how my skill set fits in.
In the meantime, a view of the Colorado sky on the last day of my visit: