Effort to make some homes more affordable in Denver

Ordinance aims to help middle income earners

DENVER - Affordable homes in Denver are becoming more and more scarce for middle-income earners.

With home prices outpacing salaries, there is an effort to make at least some housing more affordable.

There is a proposed ordinance in Denver that would require developers, who are building more than 30 new homes, or 30 new units in any given apartment or condo complex, to offer at least 10 percent of the new inventory to families making less than the median income, which is currently $60,000.

-- Bidding wars --

Current potential home buyers have found themselves in bidding wars for properties for sale along the Front Range, offering thousands over the asking price.

Robin Gibson and her husband, Chris, paid $10,000 over asking price for their home in Aurora. They closed on the house last month.

"This house that we're in now, it was a complete bidding war," Robin said. "It is absolutely crazy. I was literally pulling my hair out. I was so overwhelmed with everything."

"This is not the Denver that I know," said Samaria Crews, deputy director of the Front Range Economic Strategy Center. "Everything looks completely different now."

Her organization is proposing the new smart growth ordinance in Denver. 

"It's a great first step in changing Denver," said Crews. "There's a group of folks, including teachers and firefighters, that do have stable income and good jobs. They can buy a house, but not in the city anymore."

Gibson said she and her husband got their current house, in part, thanks to a loan from her father-in-law, which allowed them to pay cash.

"We were cash buyers, which is why our offer $10,000 over asking looked better than another buyer who was offering $30,000 over asking for the same house," said Gibson. "It's crazy. If you're not on top of it, ready to make an offer, you're going to lose it."

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