Renting a Home Is Better Than Buying One in Denver and Beyond, Report Says

This two-bedroom, one-bathroom home at 4312 Umatilla Street went for $400,000 in June.
This two-bedroom, one-bathroom home at 4312 Umatilla Street went for $400,000 in June.
A new analysis reveals that renting a three-bedroom property is more affordable than buying a median-priced home in the vast majority of Colorado counties surveyed, including all of those in the Denver metro area.

The information is gleaned from data assembled for the "2019 Rental Affordability Report" and supplied to Westword by ATTOM Data Solutions.

The folks at ATTOM crunched the numbers related to 755 counties across the country, drawing from newly released fair-market rent data for 2019 gathered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as wage figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and public-record sales-deed info assembled by ADS researchers.

Among the major takeaways: Renting is more affordable than buying in 442 of the counties studied, or 59 percent of the total, partly because of fast-rising real estate costs. Home prices were found to be outpacing wages in 80 percent of housing markets in the United States.

The situation is even more extreme in Colorado. Seventeen counties were included in the report. Of those, buying was a better deal than renting in only two, or just under 13 percent — making renting cheaper in more than 87 percent of the Colorado counties.

Moreover, renting is more affordable in the most populous Colorado counties studied, in keeping with a national trend; that was also the case in the country's eighteen largest counties by population, and 37 of the top forty. That's despite several years of sky-high rent in Denver, where prices have only recently started to moderate. In the meantime, Denver has registered some of the worst home affordability in the nation, though experts see signs of improvement heading into springtime.

The two Colorado counties where buying makes more sense are located in the southeastern quadrant of the state and have relatively modest populations.

Continue to see data for all seventeen Colorado counties included in the study, with those in the Denver metro area near the top and the two where buying bests renting at the bottom.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts