Category Archives: Denver Rental Apartments

  • Colorado is Not Alone in High Wage and Housing Price Disparity

    Colorado has the 14th-highest wage required to afford what the National Low Income Housing Coalition calls a “modest, two-bedroom apartment,” in its latest report, titled “Out of Reach.” According to the report, to afford a two-bedroom apartment in the state of Colorado, you have to earn at least $21.12 per hour. In Denver, you have to earn $23.60 per hour, according to the report.

    The National Low Income Housing Coalition came to this conclusion by calculating what a “fair market rent” is for the state for a non-extravagant, two-bedroom apartment is in each state and what an individual would have to earn per hour working 52 weeks a year and 40 hours a week to be able to pay for such an apartment without paying more than 30% of their wages each month for housing and utilities. The “fair market rent” for a two-bedroom apartment in Colorado is $1098 a month, according to the study.

    Of course, if you live in Denver, the rental prices are higher than if you live in the outlying areas, but the good news for moving to Denver is twofold: one, the living wage to afford an apartment in Colorado is actually only 14th in the nation, including Puerto Rico. In Hawaii, for example, you’d have to make over $30 an hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. The price for a modest apartment in Denver is higher than the state average, but due to the recent boom in construction of new properties and further development of new units, rents have actually begun to level off in the city. The second piece of good news for newcomers to Denver is the job market is still strong here. Even after a huge population boom during 2014 and 2015, there are still many jobs in the information technology, healthcare, and construction sectors. So even if you have to pay more than the state average for housing costs to live in Denver, there are more opportunities and rents are actually going down.

    Mayor Michael Hancock has started an effort to create a fund for affordable housing over the next decade. Hancock has started to raise property taxes and development fees to help close the gap between housing wages and rental rates in the city as well to lessen the burden not only on low wage earners but also for moderate wage earners in the city. Nationally, the housing wage is $20.30 an hour, still higher than many workers in the country make. This points out what the Hancock administration in Denver already knows: that both wages and government assistance have to increase in value in the coming years to keep up with rental costs and an aging population.

    So while we all know by now that the Denver housing market is one of the hottest in the country, there is help on the way for all wage earners and greater opportunities here for workers to improve their wages. With more development and assistance from City Hall, Denver’s expensive housing market is improving for newcomers, and Colorado is not the only state in which housing wages are high.

  • How are Short-Term Rentals Affecting the Denver Rental Market?

    There has been increasing talk about short-term rental companies like Airbnb and VRBO in Denver because of rising rental prices and many units being used as short-term rentals. Depending on who you talk to, short-term rentals are either the best thing for Denver or the absolute worst. Proponents say that allowing short-term rentals in the city allow people to make money from properties they already own or are currently paying for. Opponents say that it allows people to trample on residential neighborhoods while contributing nothing to the local economy.

    Denver residents have complained about short-term rentals raise rental prices because it keeps useable units off the market and tightens demand. Airbnb claims that it helps middle-class families make their mortgages by allowing them to rent out their homes when they aren’t using them and make some extra money. Technically, short-term rentals are illegal in Denver, but according to Colorado Public Radio there are almost 1700 Airbnb units here. The city is working with Airbnb to clear up regulations and come up with a compromise. The proposed rules will require short-term renters to possess a business license and live on the property they rent.

    Some housing experts don’t think that there are enough units going off the market due to short-term rentals to make a dent in the rental market in Denver. If they continue to be mostly unregulated by the city, however, will they eventually swallow up all the affordable housing in some of the most popular neighborhoods? Airbnb is only one of the short-term rental companies flocking to Denver to allow residents to rent their properties. VRBO and Flipkey provide similar services but aren’t as open about their data as Airbnb. Since the data is incomplete in reporting just how many properties are off the market for renters because of short-term rentals, many people remain concerned.

    The Denver rental market is loosening for prospective renters because of increased development and new units hitting the market all the time. But, as more people continue to move to Denver, there remains the risk of short-term rentals pushing people out of affordable housing options. The Denver City Council is working on legislation that could put limits on short-term rentals, but their effects on the rental market remains to be seen. With new units going up all the time and new legislation coming, short-term rentals will likely have an unpredictable effect on rental prices.