New working-class Denver homeowners end up with longer commutes

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Parallel-parked cars in City Park West. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; denverite; colorado; cars; kevinjbeaty;

Parallel-parked cars in City Park West. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

“In hot job markets, the supply of affordable homes close to work is so limited that FHA homebuyers chase affordability into neighborhoods that are far from their jobs,” Redfin said in a recent blog post.

That’s notable because Federal Housing Authority loans are frequently working-class first-time homebuyers, the agency says. And those borrowers might be saddled with something like a life-shortening commute.

Let’s test how true that is in Denver.

Here’s where FHA borrowers bought homes in 2015, according to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data.

And here’s what the average commute time was in each of those census tracts, according to the 2010-2015 American Community Survey five-year estimates.

In several pockets of the city — west Denver and Green Valley Ranch, it’s easy to see that this holds true.

But a citywide level, it’s not an exact match — FHA borrowers were only moderately more likely to buy a home in an area where most people have a longer commute.