Affordable Housing has been a hot button issue in the Big Sky area for years. With luxury housing galore, the folks that provide most of the services to homeowners and visitors alike are relegated to the fringe to find a place to call home. The community is coming together to study the issue and come up with solutions.
New housing report offers community insight – Income gap reflects home purchasing ability
By Joseph T. O’Connor Explore Big Sky Senior Editor
BIG SKY – The U.S. is today seeing its largest economic disparity in more than 80 years. It’s no more prevalent than here in Big Sky, where 82 percent of area employees earn less than $40,000 per year, according to a recent report. Meanwhile, the average cost of a single-family home here was $738,000 in 2013.
On Feb. 19, Economics and Planning Systems, a Colorado-based consulting firm, released preliminary findings for a Big Sky housing study it’s been working on since last November. The project was paid for with local resort tax dollars and conducted to answer questions about why there is a shortage of reasonably priced housing in the area.
Last June, the local Resort Tax Board allotted the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce $80,000 to hire a consultant to perform a housing development plan, and on Oct. 18 the chamber hired EPS.
A firm that has performed similar studies in Aspen, Telluride and Vail, Colo., as well as in Teton County, Wyo., EPS presented its preliminary findings at a Feb. 21 meeting to a panel of representatives from local, regional, state and federal organizations.
The purpose for the meeting was to examine funding opportunities for a housing development plan, according to Big Sky Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kitty Clemens.
“We are way behind the 8-ball,” said Clemens, who has led meetings to discuss the area’s housing issues since February 2013. “Aspen does the best job, and they’ve been doing this since the ‘70s. Vail has been doing this for [more than] 20 years.”
Greater Big Sky’s area median income is $58,369, according to EPS’ report; by earning this salary, area households can afford to purchase a home valued at $181,000, the report said.
More on the findings and full article here>>