Denver’s Housing Crunch and The Impact on Small Business

News of Denver’s housing crunch isn’t really anything new, as reports of the housing shortage have been in the spotlight for the last few years. What is new is the toll it’s taking on small businesses and the employees that work for them. Current figures estimate Colorado grew by as much as 101,000 residents during the previous 12 months, and with growth like that, jobs and the competition to get them is fierce.

Live, Work, but Where?
With such explosive population numbers, housing becomes a greater concern, as most people prefer to work close to where they live, but as people try to find a place to live, low inventory of properties both for rent and purchase, there are often more people than places to house them. Home-seekers are pushed further and further from the metro in order to locate the housing they need, and this can sometimes drive those same people to chose work that is closer to their new residence. For small businesses, this can spell trouble because the talent they need might now reside too far away to make the drive worth it. This can breed some competition for the employee, and create a type of “wage bidding war”, but not all small businesses are ready for the fight and have to stick close to their compensation budgets to maintain steady footing themselves.

Talent Gap
And speaking of talent, a recent CU-Boulder survey indicated that Colorado businesses overall are concerned about a talent shortage, meaning there appears to be a lack of skilled employees for small businesses to choose from, even though there are a great deal of people entering the state. This means companies will be challenged to do more things than usual to both acquire and keep the best hires for their needs.

The talent shortage cuts across many industries, including tech, as well as construction and medical. However, it’s not all bleak; economic forecasts point to another strong year of job growth, which will continue to help Colorado enjoy unemployment rates and decreased consumer inflation.

A Different Kind of Competition
Despite the pressing issues of housing and a talent gap, small businesses in the Denver area are also presented with a unique opportunity; they can leverage to get the people they want, while at the same time out-witting their competition. Because people aren’t always motivated by just money, employers have a chance to offer other things that could attract the ideal hire. People cite the “Work/Life Balance” as something that drives them towards certain opportunities, as well as versatile framework in which to get the work done. Employers can offer work-from-home or flextime schedules, on-site daycare, and a host of other perks that might help them secure just the perfect next hire. Small businesses that can tap into some of the intrinsic needs of their employees will inevitably be the ones that entice the right people to work for them, even if they have to live out in the suburbs.

If you need legal help, don’t hesitate to contact me at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email:

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Real Estate Services for Business Owners

Elizabeth Lewis provides the following real estate law services to small and medium sized business owners in Denver and throughout Colorado:

  • Commercial real estate purchases
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