By Jamie Leary

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The competition for real estate in Colorado’s mountain communities has forced some lower-income families to look elsewhere. Trends show the market isn’t slowing anytime soon.

In Summit County, the median sale price for a single family home hit nearly $1.3 million in December. The price may be hard to swallow, but experts say the biggest headline is the historically low inventory.

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In December of 2020, data collected over a nine-year period from Summit Reality showed a consistent decline: just 341 active listings, compared to 1,770 in December of 2012. The low inventory is driving up prices.

Leah Canfield, a broker with Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties, told CBS4 via email Wednesday the impacts on buyers have been wide-ranging.

“For example, I have a client looking for a property under $1M in Breckenridge, Keystone, or Copper, and must have a minimum of three bedrooms and three bathrooms.  Today, there is nothing on the market. Zero active listings!” Canfield said. “Another popular request is a minimum two bed/two bath under $600k (no employee housing). In all of Summit County, there is only one listing that meet these criteria, and it is a condo in Silverthorne.”

Even with a steady job, the pressure for many families hoping to put down roots is too much.

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“We see everything show up on the market disappear within like one or two days,” said Andrei Lubneuski, a Summit County resident.

Lubneuski moved to Colorado from the Ukraine more than a decade ago. He met his now wife, Anna who also from the Ukraine, in a Safeway in Summit County. The couple now have two children who attend Summit County Elementary.

While the couple have worked hard to stay, even the rental market is pricing them out.

“For the last four years, we have had to move three times and almost every time you have to pay first months last and a deposit. If something happens with the property and you have to find a place during the ski season? You either don’t have anything on the market, or you can’t afford it because it’s going to be too expensive,” said Anna Lubneuski.

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Looking for help anywhere they could, they applied to be homeowners with Summit Habitat for Humanity not expecting their situation to stand out.

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“We understand that there’s going to be a lot of people like us struggling to find housing in Summit County,” Anna said. “They selected us! Our family!”

The Lubneuski’s were selected from 16 applicants and will be new homeowners this fall.

“It gives the kids space to play. We are just so blessed and happy,” said Anna.

The single family home, located in the Dillon Valley, is one of the first builds in years for Summit Habitat. It has a garage, two bathrooms and three bedrooms. A big win for the siblings who are currently sharing a room.

For Andrei and Anna, it’s about being able to move forward instead of out.

“We just don’t have to think about moving and moving again or consider moving to a different part of Colorado, or even a different state,” said Anna.

Summit Habitat has a goal of building five houses in the next five years. Its next big project will be construction of eight workforce housing units in Fairplay, set to break ground by the end of 2021.

You can support the project, future projects or get involved with Summit Habitat in other ways.

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LINK: Summit County Affordable Housing 

Jamie Leary