All over the West, second home buyers are pushing out locals

March 20, 2015
Photo: Vail Valley Poverty, Eagle River Village 2
Multi-million dollar homes sit on a bluff overlooking the Eagle River Village trailer park in Edwards, Colo. 

Summit and Lake counties last month explored the difficulties of finding affordable housing in areas known for their winter sports. Now High Country News is reporting that second home buyers are moving into desirable areas like Aspen and Park City, Utah, and pushing out locals. 

Such "amenity migrants" move to a place because of nearby recreation and drive up home prices so much that no one else can afford rent or mortgage payments, HCN argues.

It’s like a disease, spreading across the West, both a symptom and cause of economic inequality. Oftentimes the carriers are those amenity migrants, but the malady can also be spread by the economic mix of a particular community, a simple imbalance between wages and housing costs. Denver, for example, has a robust economy and plenty of jobs, but its core neighborhoods are becoming unaffordable.

The answer, HCN says, is a "a fair amount of public spending on large quantities of a mix of housing to accommodate the people who keep our communities running. That’s no easy goal."