Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Housing woes in places worthing living

There was a good story on NPR's "Morning Edition" this morning. The story, titled Around Resorts, Boomlet Towns Thrive, Too, focused on Flagstaff, where the cost of living there -- the median home price is $350,000 -- is driving people out of town, to remote parcels of land and to once-decaying neighboring towns like Winslow. The piece looks at both the hardship and hard feelings this situation creates, as well as finding the positive in new communities that are arising around the West as these folks who can't afford to fit in carve their own niches.

It, of course, reflects the situation in Durango, where a recent report from the Region 9 Economic Development District says that 72 percent of households here don't earn enough income to purchase a home at the median home price in Durango -- which is also estimated to be $350,000. Around Durango, the towns of Bayfield and Mancos -- both 20 or 25 miles away -- are absorbing the economic refugees from the Animas Valley.

The NPR story also examines the plans for Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, to build affordable housing for its faculty and staff, who can't afford to live in Flagstaff on the school's salary. Fort Lewis College is also looking toward building such subsidized housing on the edge of the mesa south of the college.

Next: It'll be interesting to see where $5 -- or $8 -- per gallon gas takes this migration, its migrators, and the outlying towns that are the bases for these migrations -- and that is often fueled by a commuting economy.

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