Report: Colorado’s housing is on the “edge of affordability” but not at crisis point yet

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High rise construction. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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High-rise construction. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver isn’t an affordable place for janitors, licensed nurses and full-time retail associates to live, according to a new report from Housing Colorado and The National Housing Conference.

Many essential workers don’t earn enough to pay market rental rates, let alone own a home, the annual report states. Still, housing affordability in Colorado isn’t at the crisis point seen in notoriously high-cost places such as California or New York, according to the report.

While other areas along the Front Range are more affordable than Denver and Boulder, the report found that every metro from Greeley to Pueblo is at the edge of affordability for service workers.

The report released last week finds that the median sales prices in five out of six Colorado metros are higher than the national median price of $223,000.

For rentals, meanwhile, “only Boulder and Denver surpass the national median rent of $1,056. However, only elementary school teachers could afford to (pay) typical rents in all six Colorado metro areas, while janitors and full-time retail associates could not afford the rent in any of the metros,” the report states.

Rent and utilities are considered affordable if they do not exceed 30 percent of a household’s income. Buying a home is considered affordable if the mortgage payment (30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 10 percent down payment) does not exceed 28 percent of a worker’s income, according to The National Housing Conference.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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