Applicants aren’t taking this $167K/year job in Colorado due to high local housing prices

steamboat springs affordable housing
The housing issue has become a trend among mountain towns and resort communities across the nation.

It’s good work, if you can get housing.

Despite offering a six-figure salary, Colorado’s Steamboat Springs is struggling to hire someone to oversee the town’s human resources and risk management — because the municipality’s housing is so expensive.

So far, two candidates have turned down the $167,000-a-year job due to housing costs, both unable to find an affordable place to live in the approximately 13,000-person community, NBC News reported.

It’s not an issue isolated to that position, either. Sky-high real estate prices have forced Steamboat Ski Resort to lease a hotel for its employees to stay in — the properties they used to rent now increasingly available only as tourist-targeted short-term rentals.

“Houses used to be for employees and hotels for guests. Now houses are for guests and hotels are for employee housing,” the resort’s director of communications, Loryn Duke, told NBC.

The situation also forces a certain transience on those who work in the remote area, which is famous for being an Olympic athlete training ground, even if they would like to live there full-time.

This Colorado ski town’s real estate prices have soared since the pandemic. Josh-Lehew –
This Colorado ski town’s real estate prices have soared since the pandemic. Josh-Lehew –
Main street in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Tupungato –
Main street in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Tupungato –

“We have a lot of great staff who are early in their careers or have young families, but they just aren’t able to put down those roots,” Duke added.

It’s a problem that’s become increasingly common for small American cities like Steamboat Springs in recent years.

“I know that it’s so hard for folks outside of mountain or resort communities to even wrap their heads around, but housing is just so through the roof that unless you’re extremely wealthy, it’s unattainable,” Margaret Bowes, executive director of the Colorado Association of Ski Towns, told NBC.

Steamboat Springs, however, managed to stay relatively affordable even as similar municipalities watched their real estate markets become prohibitively pricey as second-home buyers, rental investors and remote worker transplants swooped in.

It wasn’t until COVID-19 hit that Steamboat Springs, too, fell victim to the trend.

“Steamboat has always been known as a cowboy ski town. It’s real authentic,” Steamboat City Manager Gary Suiter told NBC. “And the real estate prices had not gotten crazy like everywhere else. Well, that ended with the pandemic.”