The local economy is humming along at the moment, but there are some blotches in the picture. That was the overall opinion of several local experts at Wednesday’s Vail Valley Business Forum, a joint production of the Vail Symposium and the Vail Valley Partnership, the valleywide chamber of commerce. That forum provided a good look at the county’s economic picture. First, the good news: While the town of Vail’s sales tax collections recovered more quickly from the nationwide economic slump that began in 2008, the county’s sales tax revenues recovered more slowly. In fact, Eagle County Manager Brent McFall said 2015 was the first year that sales tax revenues matched 2008’s figures.

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This town’s chronic housing shortage is as bad now as it ever has been. But what will the town, its residents and its businesses do about it? Alan Nazzaro, the town’s housing director, has only been on the job about a year, but he’s spent most of the past several months assessing the town’s shortage, and working on a plan to help alleviate it. Nazzaro is now putting the finishing touches on a plan that could actually produce some new housing in and around the town in the next three to five years.

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Eagle County completed a Housing Needs Assessment in 2007, and a Nexus/Proportionality study for Commercial Development in 2008. The results of those two analyses were used as a basis for its 2009 Housing Guidelines. The 2012 Housing Needs Assessment was used to update the Housing Guidelines in 2014. Economic conditions in the United States, Colorado, and Eagle County have changed drastically since 2007-2008. Eagle County has gone from full employment (unemployment under 3%) to a rate of almost 9% unemployment in 2010, back to 3% in 2015. This see-saw of economic conditions has affected the housing market in Eagle County. Because 2007 was the height of the pre-recession growth period, the 2007 Housing Needs Assessment defined a need for affordable housing at its peak. Calculations in the 2008 Nexus study targeted ownership housing for workforce families earning 140% of Area Median Income (AMI). The 2012 Housing Needs Assessment provided an overview of post-recession needs for affordable housing which included lowering the target market for affordable housing to 100% AMI.

To read the entire report, click here.

Vail Daily Article: Eagle outsells Beaver Creek

The local real estate market has found its footing again in the past few years in the wake of the nationwide economic slump that first hit in 2008. Brokers in the western valley are particularly busy. The most recent figures are available from Land Title Guarantee Co. — which covers transactions recorded through the Eagle County Clerk & Recorder’s Office in August. Those figures show the town of Eagle with the most sales of any single area.

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Vail Daily Article: How are we supposed to live here?

Tucked in among questions about potty-training and plumber recommendations, the popular Vail Moms Facebook page recently featured an urgent appeal for housing from Ariel Graham.
Graham isn’t a single, ski season transient. She is the married mother of a 4-year-old and a 9-month-old and she actually grew up in the valley. She moved away to attend college but she always wanted to return to her hometown. The trouble is, even though both Graham and her husband are employed full-time, they are having a very difficult time making their move work.

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Vail Daily Article: Hiring Hampered by Housing

If you apply for a seasonal job at Venture Sports – or just about anywhere else in the valley – then one question is going to come up at the beginning of the interview: Do you have a place to live? “If you don’t have housing, I won’t promise you a job until you get here and show me a lease,” Venture Sports owner Mike Brumbaugh said. “If you show up and don’t have a place and then leave, I’m doubly out of luck.”

With that in mind, though, Brumbaugh said he’s doing pretty well getting his stores ready for the winter, estimating that all three Venture Sports stores have about 70 percent of their winter employees hired.

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Vail Daily Article: Valley’s Biggest Issue

The local economy is humming along at the moment, but there are some blotches in the picture. That was the overall opinion of several local experts at Wednesday’s Vail Valley Business Forum, a joint production of the Vail Symposium and the Vail Valley Partnership, the valleywide chamber of commerce. That forum provided a good look at the county’s economic picture.

Click here to read the entire article. 

Vail Daily Letter: Finding Starter Homes

On the heels of the latest news on Vail’s housing plan, now is a good time to roll out facts and perspective on the lower end of the non-deed restricted housing market across Eagle County — the niches in the traditional real estate market where buyers are looking for suitable starter homes and where savvy employers acquire rental properties to house their key employees.

Click here to read the entire letter.

Vail Daily Column: Housing’s Perfect Storm

The availability of sufficient workforce housing has been a perennial problem in the Vail Valley, but this past year it reached a critical mass. It was the No. 1 concern in the recent town survey as business owners are saying they are working longer hours as they struggle to offset a shortage of employees; some are even giving serious consideration to closing up shop and leaving the area. And on the other side of the cash register, there are growing complaints about the availability of service in the businesses. In some ways, we are fast approaching a perfect storm.

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Vail Daily Column: The Time is Now

A friend sent me a newspaper column that focused on the community impacts resulting from a lack of workforce housing along the Oregon coast. It outlined the case of tourism-driven communities whose housing crisis can’t be solved by the freemarket alone and whose communities are negatively impacted by the lack of affordable housing options.

Click here to read the entire column.