Hayden Housing in Hayden may be less expensive than housing in Steamboat Springs, but the price isn't getting any cheaper.
Interested homebuyers increasingly come from Steamboat to look at housing options in Hayden, said Kristine Stinnett, an associate broker with Prudential in Hayden.
They will find a better deal but the savings may not reflect the same difference in housing prices that existed 10 years ago.
The average price for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a two-car garage in Hayden runs from $150,000 to $200,000.
The same setup in Steamboat Springs begins at $250,000.
"It's definitely more affordable but the price in Hayden is rising," Stinnett said.
The Hayden Town Board will keep such changes in mind as it considers the merits of joining a multijurisdictional housing authority Thursday evening.
County commissioners and Steamboat representatives will present their proposal to form a housing authority in the Yampa Valley at the 7:30 p.m. meeting.
The meeting follows presentations in Yampa and Oak Creek that outlined how a housing authority might provide more affordable housing to residents who live within the authority's district.
Many of her clients decide to commute from their new homes in Hayden to their jobs in Steamboat because they feel the reasonable price of housing outweighs the convenience of a shorter drive to work, Stinnett said.
The high prices in Steamboat will gradually move outward, she said, as people discover Hayden's accessibility to Steamboat along U.S. 40.
Housing issues will no doubt arise as Hayden's population grows, but growth will come slowly, Hayden Mayor Chuck Grobe said.
Predictions set the annual growth rate in Hayden at 3 percent.
"It would be a long time in coming," he said. "It depends on what the economy does. But you can never say 'never.'"
In the meantime, the town already offers what supporters of the housing authority hope to offer, Grobe said.
"We feel it's affordable compared to what they are proposing," he said.
A multijurisdictional housing authority would be able to impose taxes and issue tax-exempt revenue bonds.
Revenue from a tax increase approved by the voters could contribute to the creation of affordable housing options in outlying communities but taxes require the approval of voters who live within the authority's district boundaries. An additional tax may not sit well with Hayden residents, who already pay high taxes, Grobe said.
"Right now, people in Hayden are very leery of new taxes," he said. "Any tax is a tax."
The city of Steamboat relies on sales tax revenues, while Hayden must levy a high property tax in addition to its sales tax.
"We don't have that luxury," he said.
The Town Board tries to avoid all unnecessary tax increases and new taxes, Grobe said.
Because the board already pursues ways to maintain affordable housing in Hayden, it should be open to hearing about a housing authority, Commissioner Doug Monger said.
A younger generation of people in Hayden can no longer afford to buy their own homes when prices increase, he said.
If the town of Hayden hopes to attract more residents, bolster its economy and bring more students into the school district, Monger said, it must be able to offer affordable housing.
Steamboat Springs City Councilman Loui Antonucci said he and others who present the housing authority to the board intend to offer information, not pressure.
"It's an invitation for them to be a part if they feel it's appropriate for their community," Antonucci said.
The town of Hayden may be satisfied with its current housing situation, he said, but commissioners and Steamboat representatives at least want to explain their motivations for pursuing a housing authority in the Yampa Valley.
But rising housing prices in Steamboat may eventually hit outlying communities, he said.
"It may not appear that they have a problem, but that does not mean that in time, as prices continue to rise, that it may not be a problem," Antonucci said.
He encouraged outlying communities to be visionary because no one can predict the future, he said.
The proposal, however, has met with mixed reviews from Oak Creek and a flat out refusal from Yampa.