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While rest of US gets more affordable, more than half of Denver renters are ‘cost-burdened'

Posted at 9:03 AM, Nov 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-09 11:04:55-05

DENVER – The percentage of renters struggling to pay for housing has gone down nationwide since the great recession, but that’s not the case in Denver.

Rental listing site ApartmentList looked at U.S. Census data from 2005 to 2016 to determine the number of “cost-burdened” renters, or those paying 30 percent or more of their income on rent. The site’s analysts found that nationally, that share – 49.7 percent – has reached its lowest level since 2008.

That’s due in part to rising incomes, which are growing at a faster pace than rents in many major metro areas.

Not so in Denver, however.

Between 2005 and 2016, incomes in the Denver metro area rose by 23.9 percent while rents have gone up by 34.7 percent, according to ApartmentList. As a result, 51.5 percent of Denver-area renters now spend 30 percent or more of their income on rent. 

In addition, nearly a quarter of renters are “severely” cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent.

In terms of affordability, the Mile High City is 74th out of 100 major metros included in the ApartmentList report.

Even though the share of cost-burdened renters nationwide has decreased in the past decade, it’s still much higher than during the 1960s, when only 24 percent of renters were cost-burdened.

To read the full report, log on to