Forecast says Weld County’s demographic make it a well-positioned labor shed for northern Colorado | MyWindsorNow.com

Forecast says Weld County’s demographic make it a well-positioned labor shed for northern Colorado

James Redmond
jredmond@greeleytribune.com

Weld County and Greeley have some unique advantages.

That's what Colorado State Demographer Elizabeth Garner shared Wednesday night at The Group Real Estate's 2017 forecast and expo at a packed Embassy Suites conference center.

While many counties have a mostly balanced amount of jobs and residents, Weld is different, Garner said.

Residents aren't typically considered economic drivers, but Weld has a larger workforce than the county has jobs, she said.

“Weld County has been on an upward trajectory since 2011. … There’s been good development on the job side.

— Elizabeth Garner, Colorado state demographer

"These guys live in Weld, they work outside (the county), they bring those earnings home and spend them locally," Garner said.

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That makes Weld a huge labor-shed, well positioned close to all of northern Colorado and the Denver Metro Area, she said. It's also what makes the county's residents an economic driver for the region.

Weld also has seen a small amount of growth in its household income level over the past couple years while the state, and even Larimer County, have experienced some downward pressure, Garner said. Although the oil and gas industry drove a lot of that, Weld managed to diversify its economy enough that even with the oil and gas downtown the area stayed strong.

"It was nice to see Weld was on a positive (track)," Garner said. "Weld County has been on an upward trajectory since 2011. … There's been good development on the job side."

All of that, coupled with the region's relative affordability, creates a positive outlook for the Weld area, Garner said. Those factors should drive both economic and population growth in the coming years.

Much of Garner's presentation focused on the way northern Colorado fits into the state's demographic picture, and the way the state fits into the broader region in demographic characteristics such as income, migration and age of the population. One takeaway, she said, is that the state's rapid population growth will likely slow in the coming years.

Weld County's affordable housing prices were a common theme in the real estate forecast presentation.

It makes Weld an attractive area for northern Colorado residents who need a lower-priced home. Income will play a pivotal role in the future of real estate, Garner predicted.

Data already shows that median household income of millennials is lower than the median household incomes of Generation X and baby boomers when they were 25-34 years old, Garner said. Areas will need entry-level houses for this next generation of home buyers.

Although almost every market, including Greeley and Weld, saw average home prices increase more than $100,000 in the past five years, Weld's average housing price is about $70,000 less than properties west of Interstate 25, said The Group Vice President Brandon Wells.

In the past few years, I-25 has become northern Colorado's Main Street, he said. In turn, that makes the infamous highway and the troubles it could pose for future commuters a key consideration in the area's housing market. Especially as higher prices west of I-25 push more people to live on the cheaper east side and commute.

"We are going to continue to see those (east of I-25) communities have a lot of growth," Wells said.

Demographics

To see more information about Colorado’s demographics go online to https://demography.dola.colorado.gov/.

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