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Aurora Housing Strategy


Aurora is growing! Our vision is to continue to be a welcoming and safe community with a strong economy and quality and attainable housing. A community’s housing stock must serve the entire income spectrum, including those experiencing homelessness, households with low incomes, new families, first-time or move-up homebuyers, downsizing empty-nesters, among others. The Aurora Housing Strategy is designed to help guide policymakers, city staff, housing developers and community members in achieving a city for all Aurorans.

The Challenge

  Aurora is growing

Aurora has seen steady population growth since the end of World War II, from 11,400 residents in 1950 to over 386,000 residents today. The availability of developable land, municipal water, and a business-friendly environment have contributed to Aurora being the third most populous city in Colorado and second most populous in the Denver metro area. Aurora’s housing has evolved to include many types of homes, neighborhoods and prices, serving a diversity of households with unique needs and preferences.

  Housing and rental prices have grown even faster

This growth has pushed rents and home prices higher each year, with median renter income increasing by 36 percent between 2010 and 2017 and home values increasing by 71 percent over the same period. In all areas of Aurora's rental submarkets, an income of more than $50,000 is required to afford the average rent—this is about $10,000 higher than the median renter income. As of 2017, Aurora had approximately 7,500 too few rental units for renters earning less than $25,000 a year.

  Demand remains strong

The city is positioned to capture a larger share of workers who need both affordability and proximity to major employment centers, including the Anschutz Medical Center and Denver International Airport, as well as middle income renters who want to become homeowners. The combination of recent price increases and slower income growth has priced many residents out of Aurora’s homeownership market. In 2016 and 2017, 56 percent of units sold were priced under $300,000, compared with 35 percent in 2018 and 2019.

To accommodate projected employment growth, the city will need to increase the pace of residential development across the price spectrum and include affordable rental and ownership products.
Chart showing job growth exceeding housing supply by 956 units in Aurora through 2025

  Housing needs are diverse

Aurora’s success in attracting residential development has been an important factor in creating income, racial and ethnic, and household diversity in the city. As households and their preferences change, so does the need for diverse housing options. There is strong housing demand at all levels on the income spectrum, from individuals or households seeking transitional or affordable rental housing, to families looking to buy a home for the first time, to a growing desire for dynamic urban neighborhoods, and others.

Our Approach

The following policy and strategy recommendations were approved by the Aurora City Council on Dec. 21, 2020, as part of the Aurora Housing Strategy.

Policy Recommendations (click on any recommendation to learn more)

Foster a balanced and sustainable housing portfolio in Aurora

Housing options should meet the needs of households of diverse types, sizes, preferences and incomes. Housing choices should include both rental and “for sale” homes and be located in safe, stable and desirable neighborhoods throughout the city.


Preserve the long-term affordability of existing housing stock

Existing affordable housing should be protected and improved to meet the needs of residents and allow families to remain in their homes and communities.


Expand the inventory of housing options throughout Aurora

The city will support the development of new housing that meets the needs of Aurora households. New mixed-income housing projects and their neighborhoods should offer a diversity of housing types and prices throughout the city.


Strengthen the city’s capacity for addressing housing issues

The city will grow funding for housing and housing programs and will work with local or regional partners that help support the city’s goals. The city will review and improve its processes and programs to support its housing goals.


Strengthen the local economy and expand employment opportunities in Aurora

Households need stable, well-paying jobs in order to afford the housing they need. The city will continue to support efforts to attract diverse jobs to Aurora.


Support protections for homeowners and renters

Housing should be safe and accessible to all households. The city will invest in housing and programs that benefit those with the greatest needs. The city will advocate for legislation that supports the city’s goals and policies.

Strategy Recommendations (click on any recommendation to learn more)


Create a Housing Trust Fund

The city will study opportunities to develop a centralized fund to support housing development and programs. Both one-time and regular funding sources will be considered and a strategic plan for spending the funds would be developed.


Waive or reduce development fees up to an annual amount

The city may choose to reduce development fees to encourage and support affordable housing projects that meet the community’s needs. Provide infrastructure improvements to manufactured home parks. These communities have provided naturally occurring affordable homes through the years and need to be maintained.


Provide infrastructure improvements to manufactured home parks

Currently Aurora has 12 existing manufactured home parks consisting of approximately 2,500 housing units. These provide some of the most affordable housing within the city and are a form of naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH). At the same time these parks were developed decades ago, may include substandard facilities and significant deferred maintenance.


Identify and set aside publicly owned land for mixed-income housing

Land acquisition can be a barrier to housing development. To support the development of affordable housing, the city and its partners will identify land that is suitable for housing.


Pilot innovative housing projects for rental and homeownership

The city will support new or innovative approaches to planning, financing and building housing that meets the needs of the community. Partner in the development of an affordable housing unit/renter matching software program. The platform will be able to connect and pair prospective renters with prospective landlords.


Partner in the development of an affordable housing unit/renter matching software program

Create an online portal for connecting prospective tenants with housing options. This single resource could help reduce time and cost burdens on housing providers and serve as a convenient resource for those seeking housing.


Partner in the development of a home share program

People looking to share an extra room can provide an affordable housing alternative and a way for people to age in place within their community.


Streamline rental inspections for affordable housing providers and tenants

Frequent rental inspections are an inconvenience to residents and costly for affordable housing providers. The city and its partners will investigate ways to improve the inspection process without compromising safety.


Implement neighborhood and area planning

What are the needs of your community? Your neighborhood? Area planning works to create neighborhood-level solutions to local problems.


Identify potential amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance to encourage the production of affordable housing

The city’s new zoning and development code offers more flexibility for developing affordable housing, but more could be done to support new housing development. The city will continue to work with its partners to identify further improvements. Implement changes to staffing or organization initiatives. Streamlining processes and making city resources more accessible citywide creates an equitable and more cohesive community. The city will continue to identify ways to streamline processes and make more resources available to address housing goals.


Implement changes to staffing or organization structure to support housing initiatives

While housing needs and priorities change over time, the city should be responsive with regular review of programs and funding priorities to react to changing conditions in the community. This strategy focuses on aligning staffing and funding resources to efficiently implement the housing strategy while serving the community in the best possible way.

Want to know more?

The Aurora City Council approved the Aurora Housing Strategy on Dec. 21, 2020. City staff are working to develop policies based on the direction outlined above, and specific proposals and updates will go back before City Council in the months ahead. As these policies take shape, we will have a robust public engagement process to ensure we are hearing from residents, businesses, partner organizations and other stakeholders.

If you have any questions about the Aurora Housing Strategy, please email [email protected] or [email protected].

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