COLORADO SPRINGS — A recent national rent report found rent prices are dropping during COVID-19, even in notoriously expensive markets like Denver—in some cases seeing drops of 20%. But it would be hard to find a case like that here in Colorado Springs. In fact, some people are finding what they thought was a livable salary, isn’t necessarily the case anymore.
“I moved to the city of Colorado Springs in July of 2017 from Albuquerque New Mexico,” Colorado Springs resident Scott Wiley said.
He graduated from college, and came to the Springs to live his dream
“To really grasp… really grab that American dream, you know, try to work up somewhere,” Wiley said.
Being married with a kid, he needed a place with room. He needed something affordable.
So he settled for a two-bedroom apartment off Centennial and Garden of the Gods that hasn’t been updated since the 1980s. He said he's thankful his base rent is only $875 a month, knowing rental opportunities like his are few and far between in the Springs.
But when factoring in expenses like utilities and trash fees on top of his monthly rent, he still has to set aside a considerable amount of his income.
“$1050 to $1100 a month,” he said.
Even with COVID-19, rents in Colorado Springs aren’t going the same way the economy has.
“We had an increase in April,” Wiley said.
In fact, they’re doing just the opposite.
“Prices have gone up instead of gone down,” said Tami Kear.
Kear owns Colorado Springs Apartment Resource—a service matching people with apartments based off their needs.
In the nearly three decades she’s been doing this, she’s never seen the average price for a one-bedroom so high.
“At least 1300 probably and that might not even be for a brand new place,” Kear said.
For something at that price, she said you’d probably need to make at least $40,000 a year, which isn’t easy right now.
“I thought that people can’t afford these high prices and apartments would have to go down on the rent,” she said. “But so far they haven’t.”
When it comes down to it, she says it’s an issue of supply and demand.
“Most of the places, they don’t hardly have anything available,” Kear said.
For people like Wiley, the ever-increasing cost of living is disheartening.
“It feels like it’s kind of squashing the American dream for a lot of people trying to start out,” Wiley said. “If you’re not making a certain amount of money, you’re really going to find yourself in a hard position.
He’s worried he’ll be priced out before the housing supply can grow.
“It’s almost to the point where it’s like, maybe I need to start looking at jobs and go back to New Mexico,” he said.