The Mountain Migration Report: Are COVID Impacts on Housing & Services Here to Stay, is a study of the recent influx of people residing in mountain communities, a trend that coincides with a boom in remote work and the COVID pandemic.
The survey seeks to quantify what appeared to be unusually full occupancy for many communities throughout the year, and asks, was it indeed a trend, and if so, who were the migrants? It studies the demographics and long-term intent of migrants and how their influx is shaping these places.
The focus group portions of the study seek input on the trend from the real estate and property management professionals. The report concludes that in-migration is occurring and that there are significant long-term implications for communities that ought to be addressed.
The report is a joint effort of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCOG) and the Colorado Association of Ski Towns (CAST). The project was scoped with the help of the consultants, Wendy Sullivan of WSW consulting and Melanie Rees in September of 2020. Following a grant award for the project to NWCCOG from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) in December, the project launched in late January, assembling a working group from across the study area to provide input on the survey questions and implementation plan.
The survey opened the first week of March and was open through the month, eventually receiving over 5,000 responses from a diverse group across the 6-county survey area. Focus groups of realtors and other of property managers were led by the consultant team who also relied upon an extensive network of title company professionals for data.
The report is available as a PDF at both www.nwccog.org and www.coskitowns.com/reports.
Each of the communities in the study was already grappling with a lack of workforce and workforce housing. The Mountain Migration trend magnified those and other issues. Some of the key findings include:
The findings of this report should help local leaders better understand current trends and motivate them to address evolving community needs. While the data was gathered from six Colorado mountain resort counties, the results should provide widespread insights for other high amenity places throughout the Mountain West. In Colorado, most solutions are local, but many of the impacts outlined in this report can only be addressed through regional and state-level cooperation and in some cases structural changes to policy, practice, and law.
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