Denver apartment costs outstrip wages for average renters, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition

It’s so tough to afford Denver rent that NLIHC calculated how to afford rent in terms of number of jobs, not the number of hours you’d need to work.

Apartments by Union Station. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

development; residential real estate; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty
Apartments by Union Station. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) development; residential real estate; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty
Apartments by Union Station. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The average Denver renter doesn’t earn enough to afford a one-bedroom apartment in the metro area, according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Oh, and that assumes that this renter will get a one bedroom apartment for $1,031 per month, which is the fair market rent. 

By the way, “afford” here means not paying more than a third of your earnings for housing. Lots of people pay more than that, but the federal government considers them cost-burdened.

Here’s what you need to earn on an hourly basis to afford different levels of housing in metro Denver, based on their calculations. The average Denver renter earns $19.41 per hour, based on their estimate.

It’s even tougher to afford Denver rents if you are earning minimum wage. So tough that NLIHC calculated how to afford a Denver rent in terms of number of jobs, rather than the number of hours you’d need to work.

All this predictably places Denver among the most expensive places to rent, even more expensive than Boulder, according to NLIHC’s calculations. And the metro area has risen in terms of unaffordability compared to NLIHC’s ranking last year.

That said, Denver is not the most expensive place to rent. Pitkin County, home to Aspen and other destinations, is still Colorado’s most expensive place to rent.

Overall, the annual report shows that Colorado has become a more expensive place to rent. Last year, the state had the 14th highest “housing wage” and this year, Colorado has the 12th highest housing wage.