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Report: Most teachers can't afford to rent or own a home in Denver metro

Posted: 1:01 PM, Oct 17, 2017
Updated: 2017-10-17 15:16:18-04
Report: Most teachers can't afford to rent or own a home in Denver metro

DENVER – Paying for housing in the Denver metro area is becoming increasingly difficult for many people and a new report highlights just how much financial pressure it’s putting on the area’s teachers.

The National Council on Teacher Quality compared housing costs and typical teacher salaries and found that in Denver and around the country, neither renting nor owning is affordable for many in the profession.

The NCTQ report looked at 124 large school districts around the country, including four in metro Denver: Cherry Creek School District, Denver Public Schools, Douglas County School District and Jeffco Public Schools.

In three of those districts, a new teacher with a bachelor's degree and no prior experience cannot even afford to rent a 1-bedroom at the median cost in each area. Only Cherry Creek was considered affordable – but just barely.

At five years of experience and a master’s degree, those districts become affordable, according to NCTQ’s data.

For the sake of its analysis, NCTQ considered housing “affordable” if the cost fell within the widely-accepted 30 percent guideline which states that a person shouldn’t spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

In Denver, for example, with a median starting salary of just over $40,000 and median 1-bedroom rent of more than $1,200, a starting teacher would have to spend 36 percent of their income on housing.

Here’s how the four Denver-area districts included in the report fared:

Cherry Creek School District
Starting salary: $38,146
Median 1-bedroom rent: $945
Percent of salary spent on rent: 30%

Denver Public Schools
Starting salary: $40,289
Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,214
Percent of salary spent on rent: 36%

Douglas County School District
Starting salary: $36,000
Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,138
Percent of salary spent on rent: 38%

Jeffco Public Schools
Starting salary: $38,000
Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,059
Percent of salary spent on rent: 33%

Home ownership also is out of reach for many teachers. Nationally, the NCTQ report found that even teachers with five years of experience would have to spend more than 30 percent of their income on mortgage payments in 80 percent of school districts.

In the Denver area, it would take a teacher more than 10 years to save up enough for a 20-percent down payment regardless of experience, according to NCTQ’s analysis. In Douglas County, it would take nearly 20 years (data were only available for those with no experience).

When it comes to mortgage payments, those also go beyond the 30-percent threshold in three of the four Colorado districts. Data weren’t available for Douglas County.

See the map below for more detailed information:

To read the full report, log on to nctq.org .