Income not keeping up with increasing rental rates

Forget 30 percent of your household income going toward rent and utilities. If you’re renting in Boulder or Fort Collins, the figure is leaving 30 percent in the dust.

A report released this week by real estate website Zillow.com and compiled for the New York Times showed that median rent as a percentage of the median household’s income in Boulder was 37.2 percent. And that’s without utilities.

Boulder landed 15th on the list nationally for the highest percentage of income going toward rent, and it was one of 90 cities nationwide where renters pay 30 percent or more of their income on rent.

Fort Collins just missed the 30 percent cut at 29.7 percent, again, not factoring in utilities. In Greeley, renters have a little better shake, but not by much, with 27.6 percent of income going toward rent.

Those figures are significant given that the study noted that historically in the United States the median household has spent 24.9 percent of income to afford a median property. The national average is now 29.6 percent.

Greeley’s figure has risen sharply with the oil boom in Weld County since the middle of 2010, when the percentage there was 20.6 percent. Greeley’s average over the past 30 years is 22.3 percent.

Boulder’s average has risen steadily since 2007, when the average was 27.5 percent. But Boulder’s average of 37.2 percent currently is blowing away the historical average there of 24.1 percent.

Fort Collins’ number has also been rising steadily since 2007, when the figure was 23.9 percent, just a shade above its historical average.

The study comes as rental vacancies along the Front Range are at all time lows in many cities and housing prices are also rising steadily.


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