40 Percent Of Working Colorado Renters Spend More Than A Third Of Income On Housing

Dated: 05/02/2016

Views: 1160

It really is less expensive to own than it is to rent these days. If you don't think you can afford to buy or don't have enough saved for down payment money, you really need to chat with a lender - there are programs out there to help! Check out this article published in the Denver Post explaining just how much money is being wasted on rent each month - then give me a call to chat about buying! -- Melanie

(link to full article at bottom)

40% of working Colorado renters spend more than a third of income on housing

Rent burdened defined as those spending more than 30% of pre-tax income on rent and utilities, according to advocacy campaign Make Room

By Emilie Rusch
The Denver Post

As housing costs have skyrocketed across the Front Range, 371,000 Coloradans paid more than 30 percent of their pre-tax income in 2014 toward rent and utility bills, according to data released Monday by a national renters' advocacy campaign.

That's a 27 percent increase since 2005 in the number of workers considered to be rent burdened, according to Make Room, which analyzed U.S. Census data from 2014, the most recent available.

Of those workers, more than two-thirds worked at least 35 hours per week. Nearly half worked in food service, office and administrative support, construction and extraction, building and grounds maintenance, or transportation.

"With so many working families struggling to keep a roof over their heads in Colorado, our leaders at the local, regional and state levels must do more to address Colorado's housing challenges," said Melinda Pollack, vice president and Denver market leader for Enterprise Community Partners, sponsoring partner of the Make Room campaign, in a statement. "Every community in Colorado should be able to benefit from the state's economic growth, but that isn't possible when so many people are barely able to pay the rent."

In 2014, there were about 966,000 working renters in Colorado.

Experts generally use 30 percent of income as the threshold of affordability in housing.

In the Denver metro area, though, rental housing that falls beneath that threshold has become increasingly rare for low and even middle-income families as rents soar and entry-level for-sale inventory evaporates.

Currently, one in every four Colorado renters is spending more than 50 percent of their income on housing, said Sara Reynolds, executive director of Housing Colorado, a Denver-based membership organization that represents the state's affordable housing industry.

"If you look at some of these low-income families, or even moderate-income families who are making $50,000-$60,000 a year, when you look at what 50 percent means, it means right off the top, $25,000-$35,000 is going out of the door for housing. That means you only have $25,000-$35,000 pre-tax to live on for the whole year," Reynolds said. "If you're trying to support a family, that's not enough to meet basic needs."

A minimum-wage worker in Colorado would need to work more than 80 hours a week to afford a basic, market-rate two-bedroom apartment, according to data from Live Affordably Colorado.

And while median apartment rents increased 10 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2016, according to the Apartment Association of Metro Denver, wages haven't experienced nearly the same growth.

In 2015, Denver metro area wages increased 0.6 percent, Reynolds said.

"It just shows the disconnect between wages stagnating and rent leaping every single year," she said. "Even if a family has a stable situation right now, it's unlikely to stay that way."

Emilie Rusch: 303-954-2457, erusch@denverpost.com or @emilierusch

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