With a permanent population of just over 5,000, Breckenridge, CO is considered a small town. When you count the number of visitors who travel to our community, that number is much higher – swelling to approximately 40,000 on peak travel days.
Millions of annual tourists mean that our many hotels and mega ski resorts require an ample number of seasonal and year-round employees to adequately function and keep our local economy fruitful. Yet, with limited real estate and available land for development, employee housing in Breckenridge has always been a challenge to some degree. Toss in a global pandemic and subsequent shutdown, and you have the perfect storm for an employee shortage crisis.
Luckily, local officials recognize the necessity to tackle the employee shortage crisis by first addressing the housing shortage. Breckenridge recently announced a plan to invest $50 million over the next five years into workforce housing which will result in 970 additional units for local workers. The Town officially dubbed the plan “the Five-Year Housing Blueprint.”
The initial $50 million investment into the project will be funded in part by the town’s short-term rental fee, approved by the council in November 2021.
“There has been a lot of questioning of ‘what are we doing with our money’ in the last few months,” Town Manager Rick Holman said at the Feb. 22nd meeting. “While we’ve always known that we’re doing great things, this is a step that we can possibly point to.”
The town also hopes to increase its housing investment level well over the committed $50 million over the next five years by leveraging partnerships with private developers and existing homeowners. The estimated total investment could wind up being as high as $300 million.
As part of the Five-Year Housing Blueprint, which Breckenridge Town Council voted to approve on Feb. 22, Breckenridge aims to have 47% of its workforce living locally. A second objective of the plan is to achieve a greater balance of 35% resident housing and 65% vacation or resort lodging –– a significant increase in residential housing.
Official estimates indicate that 600 new apartments and homes will be constructed and 370 existing properties will be converted into long-term workforce housing. The ultimate goal is to create 970 new units for local workers.
The Housing Blueprint isn’t the only housing initiative the Town of Breckenridge is currently committed to –– it’s just the newest, and currently, the largest. According to a recent article in the Summit Daily News, The town is already involved in three ongoing workforce housing projects that will add over 300 new local units slated for workers.
The Town of Breckenridge has also created programs to incentivize homeowners to deed restrict their properties when selling to help reduce the number of short term rentals.
Both the current housing and employee shortages are by no means unique to Breckenridge, but the impacts these issues can have on a tourism-driven economy can hit especially hard. The Town of Breckenridge has made great strides to listen to both homeowners and renters in order to proceed with initiatives that bode well for our community as a whole.
If you’d like to learn more about Breckenridge workforce housing initiatives, contact Real Estate of the Summit today. Our seasoned brokers are always happy to discuss how local issues might impact the buying or selling of a Summit County home.