Low-income households outnumber affordable housing units

Twice as many low-income households exist in Colorado as there are affordable rental units, according to data released Monday by the Colorado Division of Housing.

There are 50 affordable units available for every 100 renter households earning less than $20,000 per year. This annual income suggests that the renter would be able to afford a monthly rent payment of $500, or 30 percent of monthly income.

The report is based on U.S. Census Bureau data collected from 2006 to 2010, and also showed that there are 45 affordable rental units available for every 100 households earning less than $15,000 and 55 units available for every 100 households earning less than $10,000.

For households at the $35,000 income level, there are 107 rental units affordable for every 100 households.

Rental units are deemed “affordable” if a household pays no more than 30 percent of monthly income in rent. Households that pay more than 30 percent are considered “rent burdened.”

At all income levels, there were approximately 298,000 rent-burdened households in Colorado, equaling about 48 percent of all rented units statewide.

In Fort Collins-Loveland, 54 percent of households are rent burdened. In Greeley, 48 percent of households are rent burdened, according to the report.

“Rental housing in general since 2009 has become more scarce for many households as vacancies fall and rents,´ said Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the Division of Housing. “But when one is at the lowest income levels, the impact of growing demand for rentals can be especially severe as once-affordable rentals units are priced out of range.”

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