The cost of housing in Western states is soaring. But the simple solution — build more houses — is proving difficult. 
Credit: Chelsea Jia Feng / Insider

Tucked in the far southwest corner of Colorado is the historic city of Durango. Built in the 19th century at a railroad junction, it’s nestled in a bend of the Animas River as it flows through the magnificent San Juan Mountains.

Stunning scenery and copious amenities helped attract 460 new residents to the town of 19,000 during the pandemic. That may not sound like a lot, but it was enough to juice median home prices by 50% in just three years, with them soaring from $500,000 in 2019 to over $750,000 by 2022. The boom caught longtime residents, recent arrivals, and even municipal planners by surprise. During a meeting held by a local economic-development organization early last year, the county deputy manager at the time, Mike Segrest, warned the city was headed for “complete disaster” if it couldn’t get prices under control, since the spike has meant that teachers, police officers, […]

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