Hourly Wage Needed to Afford 2-Bedroom Apartment in Colorado
Rental vacancies in Grand Junction and Colorado are very low and with demand equaling or outpacing the market, it's difficult to find an affordable place to rent, especially if you're in the middle or lower end of the state's wage scale.
According to CityLab, while the economy is improving, wages have remained at a standstill. At the same time, rent in Colorado and across the country continue to rise, making it virtually unaffordable, even for working people, to find decent housing.
Couple that with a Pew Research study showing 30% of the US population makes minimum wage and housing becomes a real dilemma for people.
The CityLab study shows the average US worker needs to earn $19.35 per hour to afford a two bedroom apartment.
In Colorado, that worker would need to earn $19.89 per hour.
What's more interesting, a survey by Areavibes indicates median annual earnings in Grand Junction range from just over $21,000 for women to around $32,000 for men, putting both several dollars an hour under the $19.89 average needed to rent.
A Zillow search of 2 Bedroom apartments in Grand Junction found prices ranging from approximately $700 to $1,000 per month. Of course, this doesn't take into account the cost of a damage deposit, utilities or other fees.
With so much money going towards rent, this is also preventing renters from being able to save money to move from the rental market into home ownership.
Even with home buyer programs like CHFA available to assist with down payment and closing costs, people at the current income level would have a difficult time finding a nice home in their price range.
I know how difficult this is personally. My son has qualified for a home loan, where the monthly payment would be about the same or less than rent. But so far, homes in the price range he qualifies for, either need repairs or don't meet the guidelines for the program assisting him in the purchase.
It seems to be a lose-lose situation. Should we keep looking for a house, or plan on renting for a while?
There really is not a right or wrong answer, but I'd love to get some advice.
Are you in the same dilemma that I am? Submit your questions in the comments, and we'll get you the answers.