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When the pandemic arrived, Colorado was dragged into an intense new phase of its housing shortage.

“You can almost draw it exactly to March of 2020, when things started to deviate from the norms,” said Matthew Leprino, spokesperson for the Colorado Association of Realtors.

Since then, housing costs have leaped upward at rates not seen for years. Rent prices have grown 13 percent in the last year in Denver, while home prices are up nearly 20 percent for the year, and it’s even worse in mountain counties. For many, the idea of owning a home, or even renting a decent space, has gone from “unlikely” to “impossible.”