A Quarter Of Denver Renters Are Severely Burdened By Prices Harvard Study Says

Dated: 12/21/2017

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From The Denver Post 12/15/17


Nearly one in four renters in metro Denver spend half or more of their monthly paychecks just to keep a roof over their heads.

As high as that number may sound, an even larger share of households renting in Boulder, Pueblo, Fort Collins, Grand Junction and Greeley pay that high an amount of income in rent and utilities, according to the latest America’s Rental Housing report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

“There are some hard trade-offs, and it has consequences for the broader economy,” said Jon Spader, a senior research associate at the center of having so many households with so little disposable income left after covering housing costs.

Burdened renters are defined as those who spend 30 percent or more of their monthly incomes on rent and utilities, while severely burdened renters are defined as those who spend half of more.

In the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area, with a median household income of $48,000 a year and a median monthly rent of $1,283, half of the households who rent are burdened and 24.4 percent are severely burdened, according to the report.

In Boulder County, 39.4 percent of households who rent are severely burdened, with a median household income of $40,000 available to cover a median rent of $1,370 a month.

Boulder’s heavy concentration of university students pushes down the income numbers in a county with elevated rents. Yet, even in Colorado cities where rents are a comparative bargain, incomes have failed to keep pace.

About 34.1 percent of Pueblo’s renting households are considered severely burdened, while 33.5 percent of the Grand Junction households who rent fall into that category.

In Fort Collins, a third of renting households are severely burdened, while in Greeley, 30.6 percent are. Colorado Springs, with 26.2 percent of households severely burdened, has a ratio closer to Denver’s.

The Harvard study predicts the huge shift from owning to renting that started back in 2004 may have run its course, and that reduced demand for rental housing should keep rent increases in check, according to the report. That said, the number of renters will continue to rise, especially among higher-wage earners.

In 2006, only 12 percent of U.S. households earning $100,000 or more were renters. But by 2016, 18 percent of households with that high an income were tenants.

Metro Denver added 91,000 additional renter households from 2006 and 2016, Spader said. Of those, nearly four in 10 represented households making $100,000 or more a year.

Metro Denver, over the past decade, has lost 55,000 units with rents at $850 or less a month and added 95,000 units with rents above $1,500 a month, Spader said.

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Ranae Urso

My name is RaNae Urso and I specialize in residential sales and buyer representation in the Denver Metro area. I have been in the real estate business over 14 years of my 30 years in Colorado. I enjo....

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