Affordable Housing Solutions

From 2010 through 2018, Colorado’s population increased by over 666,000 people, according to the U.S. Census. To put this in perspective, Denver’s population is just 619,000 people, so our population growth is like adding a new major city to the region. Naturally, with such a large influx of people, Colorado is experiencing a housing shortage, causing the cost of home purchase and home rental to increase.

There is no single solution or quick fix for this shortage and the resulting high housing costs, but there are a collection of policy solutions that together will reduce the cost of housing and improve the diversity of residential housing options.

  • Property Tax Abatement – Adopt a Colorado formula for encouraging developers to voluntarily build affordable housing by providing property tax abatement on the value of improvements (i.e. pay property taxes on land value only) for multiple years in exchange for lower rents over a 25- to 35-year period.
  • Fund more affordable housing vouchers.
  • Increase state income tax credits for Low Income Housing Tax Credit Projects – expand the effective and successful program already in place.
  • Increase Condo construction. The State of Colorado should adopt the same legislation that the City of Denver and other Front Range cities have adopted modifying current construction liability laws to provide the right of the developer and contractor to repair issues before lawsuits are filed.
  • Contribute land to developers in exchange for long-term restrictions on rents or sales price.
  • Reduce building permit fees or tap fees in exchange for long term restriction on rents or sales prices.
  • Encourage zoning by local governments to expand future manufactured housing communities.
  • Privatize the live program and provide public financial support for matching employer contributions for rent buydowns.
  • Encourage co-living and single room occupancy zoning to encourage more efficient use of the built environment.
  • Increase height or density for residential projects near transit stops.
  • Mandate reduced or no water tap fees for affordable housing developments.
  • Encourage greater density in zoning and encourage Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) or paired home entitlements.
  • Reduce parking requirements for all types of housing, thereby reducing the costs to build.
  • Reduce administrative burdens of accepting housing vouchers.
  • Provide funds or grants to new affordable developments for mixed income communities.
  • Expedite the entitlement and building permit process for the construction of affordable condominiums and apartments.
  • Expand tax-exempt bond financing for affordable housing.

Colorado’s rental housing industry stands ready to partner within Colorado’s communities to SHAPE (support housing affordability, progress, and equality) housing policy to ensure Coloradans have access to housing that best meets their needs.

Resources on Affordable Housing

NMHC Outlines Solutions to Address Housing Affordability Crisis

Regulation: Over 30 Percent of the Cost of a Multifamily Development

Mapping the Spread of Inclusionary Housing Policies

NMHC Toolkit: Tax Abatement

NMHC Toolkit: Inclusionary Zoning