Phase 1 of the 2024 Gunnison Valley Housing Needs Assessment is here! While the full report will be released in late summer or early fall, we’re taking a sneak peak at some of the highlights so far.

The Valley Housing Fund, in partnership with the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority and local governments, helped commission this report to provide data-driven information and insights into our valley’s current and future housing needs. 

The data in this report will inform and assist the development of policies, programs, and affordable housing initiatives to support residents and the growing workforce of the Gunnison Valley. Below, you can find a preview of the data collected so far.

Stay tuned. Phase 2, along with the full report, will be available in early fall.

Who needs housing?

These days, the answer seems to be “pretty much everyone.” Looking at the numbers closely, we find that an additional 1,080 to 1,345 housing units, or an average of 215 to 270 housing units per year, will be needed by 2029 to meet our current and future housing needs.

Why do we need this data?

The data in this report is helpful for: 

  • Policy decisions that impact housing
  • Setting short-term goals to address immediate housing needs
  • Long-range planning to prepare our community and local economy for the future
  • Determining the type(s) of housing needed and where to locate it within the valley
  • Allow eligibility for additional funding from state and federal sources

What are a few key takeaways?

There is a wide spectrum of housing needs in the Gunnison Valley. Despite successes in providing and developing community housing, we need to continue improving the availability of affordable housing for households at all income levels. The full report will be available to the public later this summer, but below are a few snippets that we found compelling:

Community housing stock represents 10% of the Valley’s occupied housing.

Since 2016, the Valley has significantly ramped up its community housing investment, constructing nearly 250 units. Employers have also been active, with 42% of survey respondents providing some type of assistance to employees. (Page 10)

Incomes are not keeping up with rising home prices and rents.

Today, a household must earn $350,000 (422% of the area median income) to afford median-priced housing for sale in the Gunnison Valley. While rental prices remain more aligned with increases in resident income, lack of supply makes finding housing extremely difficult. (Page 11)

Job growth and housing development are not aligned.

Since 2016, housing development has occurred at about one-half the job growth rate. To address this, more community housing is needed – but at a price aligned with local wages. Of the 1,080+ housing units required through 2029, at least 75% need to be priced below market to meet the needs of residents and employees. (Page 11)

Housing opportunities in the South Valley are disappearing.

Before 2020, homes priced below $500k were available in the South Valley. Today, only 33 homes (27% of current stock) are for sale at this price point, 26 of which are condos in the North Valley primarily intended for part-time occupancy. (Page 12)

Businesses valley-wide are feeling the squeeze.

In the 2024 employer survey, nearly all employers (92%) felt that housing was one of their operations’ most serious, if not the most critical, problems. Over 40% of North Valley employers said they needed to reduce hours or periodically shut doors due to understaffing. (Page 12 – 13)

How does this impact the community?

Diminishing inventory and an imbalance between incomes and housing costs continue to impose significant challenges for residents, employers, and the community. Housing affordability and availability within the Valley are scarce, impacting not only local business revenue and the ability to operate but also the health and quality of life for employees, the availability of services, and the experience of visitors. 

Aggressive land use, housing policies, and direct investments are necessary to address these challenges and preserve the integrity of our local economy and community. The Valley Housing Fund stands at the forefront of this change, supporting and amplifying the work and financial capacity of local jurisdictions, businesses, and partner organizations.

Stay tuned for more.

Phase 2 of the 2024 Housing Needs Assessment, which will include additional data on resident housing characteristics, needs, and preferences.