Boulder-area renters carry the highest rent burden in the state

Posted by DB Wilson on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 at 10:39am.

While Boulder prides itself for appearing at the top of many “best of” lists, its residents may not be too happy – or surprised – about its appearance on the state’s list of metro areas with the most rent-burdened households.
 
According to the Colorado Division of Housing, the state has more than 1.9 million households, more than 600,000 of which are renter households. While more than 65 percent of Colorado households are owner occupied, rental housing is still an important source of shelter for people all income levels, though renting is often essential for low- and middle-income households.

Rent-burdened households are those that pay 30 percent or more of income toward housing. According to a recent report from the state the metropolitan areas with largest rent burdens in Colorado were the Boulder and Fort Collins-Loveland. These counties were those with the counties with the highest rent burdens among households paying 30 percent, 35 percent and 50 percent or more of income toward housing.

The metropolitan areas with smallest rent burdens in all three categories were Grand Junction and Colorado Springs.

Out of a total of 622,000 renter households in Colorado, approximately 298,000 households (48 percent of all renter households) are paying 30 percent or more of their income toward housing, and 243,000 households (39 percent of all renter households) are paying 35 percent or more of income toward housing. Approximately 150,000 households (24 percent of all renter households) pay 50 percent or more of income toward housing.

Among rent-burdened households in Colorado, 150,500 (50 percent) are households with incomes of less than $20,000 per year.

When broken out by income levels, rent-burdened households are most numerous at the lower income levels. As incomes rise, fewer renters are rent burdened, and there are fewer renters at the higher income levels. With 3.5 households for every unit affordable to households making $20,000 or less a year, the Boulder area also had the greatest mismatch in the number of affordable housing units compared with low-income familes, according to the report.

The areas with the smallest proportions of rent burdened households below the $20,000 income level were found in the Grand Junction and Greeley areas.

The Boulder area also had the greatest mismatch in the number of affordable housing units compared with low-income families, according to the report, with 3.5 households for every unit affordable to households making $20,000 or less.

Here’s a look at how Boulder’s rent burden measures up to the state and other Colorado metros:

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