The Pikes Peak Region is experiencing some economic challenges despite signs of recovery in the housing market. While new home builds indicate progress, there is still a significant gap between supply and demand. Additionally, home sales during the peak season this summer were down 20 percent compared to the previous year, largely due to high mortgage interest rates. This has had a negative impact on housing affordability, making it difficult for both buyers and renters. Although rents fell slightly at the end of last year, they remain significantly higher than a few years ago, resulting in a significant increase in the cost of living for renters.
Furthermore, the region has faced other economic setbacks. Sales tax collections and company payrolls have experienced slight declines, and office vacancy rates are at their highest since 2015. Despite these challenges, it was emphasized during a forum discussion that the situation could have been even worse.
Experts predict that the region’s growth will continue to be sluggish in the next two years, with a projected increase of 1.3 percent in 2024 and 2.1 percent in 2025. In terms of inflation, rates are expected to return to a “normal” level of 2.5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.
On a positive note, the military presence in Colorado Springs is expected to help insulate the local economy, especially with the establishment of the U.S. Space Command headquarters. Additionally, tourism is on the rise, with record-breaking traffic at the Colorado Springs Airport and high hotel occupancy rates. These factors have led experts to believe that the region and the state may not experience a full-blown recession in the coming years.
Overall, the economic outlook for the Pikes Peak Region is uncertain, akin to seeing a car’s check engine light come on. While there may be some concerns, there are no immediate signs of a major problem, giving some reassurance that the situation may improve. This economic forecast marks the 27th year of the region’s signature economic outlook.