On Jan. 24, the lead article in Sunday’s Denver Post was “Denver’s chronic housing shortage.”
Yet on Jan. 19, the Denver Post reported: “Thousands of new apartments continued to pour onto the market in metro Denver last year, pushing down rents and pushing up vacancy rates to their highest level in seven years, according to the Denver Metro Apartment Vacancy and Rent report for the fourth quarter.”
Which one is it? Or is it both? The Sunday story was missing a critical word in its headline — “affordable” — which becomes evident as one gets deeper into the story.
There is something wrong when we witness an unbelievable building boom, with residential tower blocks upon tower blocks sprouting up across the city of Denver, in all neighborhoods, yet a serious housing shortage is also taking place. The Post article lays out a variety of factors, yet it never addresses this seeming contradiction. It does, however, talk about how as Denver becomes more unaffordable — many people are spending half of their wages on rent alone — the city will become less of a draw. Who will fill all those luxury tower blocks being built? Will struggling Denverites have to wait for a bust to find housing they can afford?
Mayors of Denver used to pride themselves talking about Denver’s open spaces. Now they talk about gobbling up every last piece of open space. It’s time for a paradigm change.
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