Housing Needs

In 2016, a valley-wide collaboration between the City of Gunnison, Gunnison County, Gunnison Valley Housing Foundations, Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority, Town of Crested Butte and Town of Mount Crested Butte, requested a housing needs assessment from a third-party to better understand the current and future housing issues. The study quantifies current and future housing needs in the Gunnison Valley and answers questions such as how much, what type and at which price points housing is needed to support local residents.

The Gunnison Valley Housing Needs assessment was released November 2016 and can be downloaded here.

Area Median Income: The household income for the middle household in a region. (In math, median is the exact middle number in a group of numbers. Median is used instead of average, because an average can be skewed by very large or small numbers in the group.) The AMI of Gunnison Valley is $49,600.

Key Findings

A Housing Shortage Exists throughout the Gunnison Valley
  • Residential units in the Gunnison Valley that house local residents are decreasing while the number of second/vacation homes are rising. Town of Crested Butte lost 7% housing inventory to second/vacation homes between 2000 and 2010.
  • Rental vacancies are lower than 1%.
  • Nearly 70% of employers indicated that the availability of housing affordable for the workforce is a serious or the most critical problem in the region and approximately 360 jobs were unfilled as of August 2016.

Housing Costs are High and Increasing Relative to Incomes
  • On average in the Gunnison Valley, an income of over $155,000 is needed to afford the median home price of $635,000, which is equivalent to over 280% AMI.
  • Rents have risen sharply in recent years and are continuing to rise. The median monthly rent of $1,167 for units listed for rent in August would require an income at or above 128% AMI ($71,000) to be considered affordable.

Housing Shortages and High  Costs are Hurting the Economy
  • In August, 360 jobs were unfilled. This compares with about 190 jobs in summer 2015.
  • All types of positions are impacted by the lack/cost of housing. Entry level professionals have almost as much difficulty finding housing as service and retail employees.
  • About 80% of employers experienced at least one housing-related problem in the past year.
  • The North and Mid-Valley must import workers who commute from the South Valley to fill 845 jobs.

The Gap between Housing Needs and the Market is Growing
  • 335 Housing units are needed to catch-up to current valley needs.
  • 625 Housing units are needed to keep-up with project housing needs by 2020.
  • Total of 960 units needed by 2020 (432 specifically identified as 100% rental units).
Perceptions about Severity of Housing Problem

Concerns about workforce housing are highest among North Valley renters
than renters in other areas – almost 94% think that the availability of housing that is affordable for the workforce is the most critical problem in the region.

  • Catch-Up Needs — the number of housing units needed to address current deficiencies in housing based on employees needed for unfilled jobs, housing needed to alleviate overcrowding and rental units needed to provide a functional rental market.
  • Keep-Up Needs — the number of units needed to keep-up with future demand for housing based on projected employment growth and jobs vacated by retiring employees.


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