The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2018 Study found that the average Colorado resident needs to make at least $23.93 per hour to afford a two bedroom apartment, which is the 11th highest “housing wage” in the US.
The NLIHC 2018 report calculates the number of hours a minimum wage earning employee needs to work per week in order to afford a two bedroom apartment. The apartments were at Fair Market Rent which is annually determined by the federal government. Fair Market Rent estimates what it would cost to rent apartments in a particular area. This year's report reveals that affordable housing is still out of reach in Colorado and across the country.
For residents of Denver- Aurora- Lakewood MSA they would need to earn $27.27 per hour, or $56,720 annually, in order to afford a two bedroom apartment without spending more than 30% of their income on rent. Currently, the estimated median household income of a renter in the Denver MSA is $44,639, which is $12,081 behind the $56,720 mark. The housing wage is more affordable in Colorado Springs with workers needing to earn $19.62 an hour. Boulder Metro is more expensive with workers needing to earn $28.10 hourly in order to afford a two bedroom apartment.
Although the new Colorado minimum wage of $10.20 surpasses the federal minimum wage of $7.25, the average Colorado worker would need to work 74 hours a week to afford a small, one- bedroom rental. A worker living in Denver would need to work 85 hours a week to afford the same one-bedroom apartment.
In order to help solve some of the issues surrounding affordable housing in Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper signed a bill that extended the Colorado Affordable Housing Tax Credit program through 2024. The AHTC program gives tax credits to developers who build affordable housing.
Read more here.
View the full 2018 Report.