How Meth Users, Foreclosures, and Renters Are Affecting Local Housing Markets

May 12 2011, 9:49 AM

When street lights and bus service became two of many budget-cutting casualties in Colorado Springs last year, the news made national headlines. But after El Paso County axed its methamphetamine cleanup program in 2009, word doesn't seem to have spread much farther than the local health department responsible for overseeing the messes.

Meth contamination wasn't on the minds of Jason and Lauren Hardy, who moved out of their dream home after discovering it had been a party house overrun by drug users and dog feces before it was flipped after a mop and shine (Gazette). Perhaps most shocking is that the property was never a meth lab; the drug had merely been used frequently enough on the premises to make it a health hazard. The Hardys, who have one child and suffered a miscarriage after moving in, are still responsible for the mortgage and have left their belongings inside.

Luckily, the couple will be spared foreclosure, adding to a trend of declining filings across the state and the nation (Denver Business Journal). While Colorado's foreclosure rate remains higher than the rest of the country's, the Denver area is seeing a slight bump in million-dollar home sales (Denver Post).

But if you've got $7 to $8 million to invest, you may want to consider apartment property instead: The heirs to the late Kal Zeff's local "empire" would prefer to sell his whopping 8,000 units (across 27 Denver properties) to one buyer rather than split them (Inside Real Estate News). Plus, vacancy rates are down across the state, and although other Front Range areas are seeing larger decreases, Denver's has also dropped (IREN).