Index: Community Development / Subcategory: Housing

Affordable Rental Costs

Date updated: 10/22/2012

Affordable rental housing is defined as housing which costs no more than 30% of a household's gross monthly income for rent and utilities.

According to the 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, 33% of households in Larimer County (approximately 38,200) are renters. In Larimer County, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a 2-bedroom apartment was $849 in 2011. For a household to afford the FMR for a 2-bedroom apartment, without paying in excess of 30% of income for housing, requires a minimum household income of $2,830 per month. Assuming a year round 40-hour work week, this level of income translates into an hourly wage of $16.33.

An estimated 2,800 households in Larimer County received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits according to the 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. SSI is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people with little to no income meet their basic living expenses. Between 2006 and 2010, the average monthly income for households receiving SSI totaled $695 per month. At this income level, rent of $209 per month is considered affordable. However, the FMR for a one-bedroom apartment in the Fort Collins-Loveland area in 2011 was $700 per month.

What this chart shows: Average Household Rent and Vacancy Rates in the Fort Collins/Loveland MSA, 2002 to 2011*

Average Household Rent and Vacancy Rates in the Fort Collins/Loveland MSA, 2002 to 2011

*The above chart and the corresponding table display data based on multi-unit (duplexes, apartment buildings, etc.) rental housing only based on 1st Quarter data. The rental costs do not include utilities paid by the renter.

Data Source: Colorado Division of Housing

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Vacancy rates in Larimer County increased almost 130% between the first quarter of 2002 and the first quarter of 2003, when they peaked at 16.1%. During this time, many residents were purchasing homes due to the availability of easy credit. Since 2003, vacancy rates have been declining, reaching a low of 4.0% in the first quarter of 2011.

In 2011, average monthly rent reached a 10-year high of $901, a 24.1% increase over 2004. As would be expected, vacancy rates dropped as homeowners were losing their homes and needed a place to live.

What this chart shows: Average Wages for Select Occupations vs. Household Rent in the Fort Collins/Loveland MSA, 2011

Job Title

 Average Income (Hourly)

Average Income (Annual)

Maximum Monthly Rent Affordable for this Income

Monthly Rent by Number of Bedrooms*

Efficiency

1 BR

2 BR

3 BR

4 BR

$584

$700

$849

$1,236

$1,441

Monthly Amount of Cost Burden
(Rent Amount in Excess of 30%
of Gross Annual Income)

Waiter/ Waitress $9.66 $20,101 $503

$81

$197

$346

$733

$938

Cashier $9.83 $20,437 $511

$73

$189

$338

$725

$930

Restaurant Cook $11.11 $23,115 $578

$6

$122

$271

$658

$863

Janitor $11.60 $24,129 $603

N/A

$97

$246

$633

$838

Retail Salesperson $11.80 $24,535 $613

N/A

$87

$236

$623

$828

Home Health Care Worker $12.32 $25,631 $641

N/A

$59

$208

$595

$800

Groundskeeper $12.90 $26,838 $671

N/A

$29

$178

$565

$770

Receptionist $13.26 $27,573 $689

N/A

$11

$160

$547

$752

Customer Service Rep $15.02 $31,243 $781

N/A

N/A

$68

$455

$660

Secretary $15.46 $32,152 $804

N/A

N/A

$45

$432

$637

Bookkeeper $15.91 $33,101 $828

N/A

N/A

$21

$408

$613

Maintenance Worker

$16.87

$35,086 $877

N/A

N/A

N/A

$359

$564

Retail Supervisor $19.08 $39,677 $992

N/A

N/A

N/A

$244

$449

*Rents include single-family residences as well as apartments and other multi-family units. In addition, the rents listed above include the cost of all utilities except telephone.

Data Sources:

What the above data tell us:

According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the average weekly wage in 2011 for all Larimer County employees was $810 or $42,120 per year. At this salary, an individual in Larimer County could afford to pay up to $1,053 per month for rent and utilities. The average weekly wage would not be sufficient to cover the average monthly rent for a 3-bedroom unit, including utilities, of $1,236.

Based on the average rental amounts shown above, Larimer County renters would need to earn the following minimum hourly wage (based on a 40-hour work week) to qualify for affordable housing:

Size of Rental

Minimum Hourly Wage

Efficiency

$11.23

1-bedroom

$13.46

2-bedroom

$16.33

3-bedroom

$23.77

4-bedroom

$27.71

What this chart shows: Percentage of Renter Households Spending 30% and More of Gross Annual Household Income Toward Rent by Colorado County, 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Percentage of Renter Households Spending 30% and More of Gross Annual Household Income Toward Rent by Colorado County, 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Data Source: American Community Survey

See data table

What this chart shows: Percentage of Renting Households Spending 30% and More of Gross Annual Household Income Toward Rent by Income Range in Larimer County, 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Percentage of Renting Households Spending 30% and More of Gross Annual Household Income Toward Rent by Income Range in Larimer County, 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Data Source: American Community Survey

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Nearly 54% of renting households in Larimer County paid more than 30% of their income for housing between 2006 and 2010. There were 10 Colorado counties where between 50% and 67% of renter households paid in excess of 30% for housing. From highest to lowest: Gilpin, Lake, Fremont, San Juan, Boulder, Teller, Larimer, Pueblo, Custer, and Adams.

Households earning less than $50,000 per year were much more likely to pay more than 30% of their household income in rent than those earning $50,000 or more. It appears the need for more affordable housing is an ongoing problem for residents of Larimer County.

According to the 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, there were an estimated 20,000 Larimer County households with incomes less than $50,000 who paid more than 30% of their income for rent.

In June 2011, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Housing, released a report on rent burdened households in Colorado. According to that report, there are just under 22,000 affordable rental units in Larimer County for households earning $25,000 or less per year. However, there are more than twice as many households in Larimer County (roughly 45,700) at that income level.

What this chart shows: Percentage of Households Paying 30% and More of Gross Annual Household Income Toward Rent in the United States, Colorado, Larimer County & Cities and Towns, Census 2000 vs. 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Percentage of Households Paying 30% and More of Gross Annual Household Income Toward Rent in the United States, Colorado, Larimer County & Cities and Towns, Census 2000 vs. 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Data Source: United States Census Bureau

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Whether it's the United States, Colorado, Larimer County or its cities and towns, nearly all saw a higher percentage of its residents paying in excess of 30% of household income for housing at the end of the decade (2006-2010 average) compared to the 2000 Census.

In the United States, there was a 27.6% increase between 2000 and the 5-year average (2006-2010) in the percentage of households paying in excess of 30% of their income for housing. All of the Larimer County communities shown above, with the exception of Fort Collins (and Wellington which saw a decline), experienced higher percentage increases than the national average. Estes Park (95.9% increase) and Laporte (81.1% increase) saw the greatest increases. NOTE: Timnath was not included in the above chart because of an extremely small sample size.

The average median family income (MFI) in Larimer County between 2006 and 2010 was $71,675 for a family of four. That means a family of four with an MFI of $21,503 or less would be considered extremely low income (30% of MFI) and a family of four earning between $21,504 and $35,838 would be considered very low income (50% of MFI). Finally, a family of four with income between $35,839 and $57,340 would be considered low income (80% of MFI). See the Median Family Income page on COMPASS for more information.

What this chart shows: Percentage of Households by Percentage of Gross Annual Household Income Paid toward Rent in Larimer County, 2000 Census vs. 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Percentage of Households by Percentage of Gross Annual Household Income Paid toward Rent in Larimer County, 2000 Census vs. 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Data Source: United States Census Bureau

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Larimer County households paying in excess of 50% of their household income for housing increased from 20.5% in 2000 to 30.2% for the 2006-2010 5-year estimate.

Additional Information:

Related Information on COMPASS-

Other Resources -

Data Tables:

Average Rent and Vacancy Rates - Fort Collins/Loveland MSA

Rent

Vacancy Rate

2002

$753

7.0%

2003

$743

16.1%

2004

$726

13.4%

2005

$740

12.7%

2006

$749

8.8%

2007

$758

7.9%

2008

$760

5.2%

2009

$861

4.4%

2010

$838

4.9%

2011

$901

4.0%

See chart

Households Paying 30% and More of Income Toward Rent by Income Range, 2006-2010 ACS 5-Year Estimates

County

% Renter Households Paying >30% for Housing

County

% Renter Households Paying >30% for Housing

Gilpin

67.0%

Eagle

41.9%

Lake

61.0%

Archuleta

41.2%

Fremont

60.5%

Conejos

40.8%

San Juan

60.1%

Costilla

40.4%

Boulder

55.8%

Montezuma

39.9%

Teller

55.4%

Grand

39.6%

Larimer

53.9%

Lincoln

39.1%

Pueblo

52.9%

Otero

38.9%

Custer

51.2%

Douglas

38.2%

Adams

50.2%

Delta

38.0%

Arapahoe

49.8%

Huerfano

37.9%

Denver

48.4%

Pitkin

37.6%

Alamosa

48.2%

Rio Grande

37.5%

San Miguel

48.0%

47.5%Prowers

36.4%

Weld

48.0%

Saguache

36.4%

Clear Creek

47.2%

Morgan

34.1%

Las Animas

47.5%

Sedgwick

33.6%

Elbert

47.1%

Bent

33.2%

Jefferson

46.9%

Kiowa

33.1%

El Paso

46.4%

Dolores

32.9%

Chaffee

45.6%

Crowley

30.8%

Summit

45.2%

Phillips

27.5%

Ouray

44.7%

Jackson

26.2%

Park

44.6%

Baca

26.1%

Garfield

43.8%

Washington

26.1%

Gunnison

43.6%

Logan

25.5%

Broomfield

43.4%

Kit Carson

22.5%

Mesa

43.3%

Rio Blanco

19.9%

Montrose

43.1%

Yuma

17.3%

Routt

42.6%

Mineral

15.0%

La Plata

42.1%

Cheyenne

11.1%

Moffat

42.0%

Hinsdale

9.5%

See chart

Households Paying 30% and More of Income Toward Rent by Income Range - Larimer County, 2006-2010 ACS 5-Year Estimates

Income Range

Less Than $10,000

$10,000 to $19,999

$20,000 to $34,999

$35,000 to $49,999

$50,000 to $74,999

$75,000 to $99,999

$100,000 and More

Households in Income Range

82.1%

87.4%

73.0%

35.5%

10.9%

2.3%

0.0%

See chart

Percentage of Households Paying 30% and More Toward Rent, 2006-2010 ACS 5-Year Estimates

2000 Census

30-34%

35-39%

40-49%

50% or more

TOTAL %

United States

7.3%

5.1%

6.7%

17.6%

36.8%

Colorado

8.3%

5.7%

7.2%

17.4%

38.7%

Larimer County

8.1%

5.6%

7.8%

20.5%

42.0%

Berthoud

9.5%

7.2%

8.8%

9.0%

34.5%

Estes Park

11.1%

4.9%

3.8%

10.3%

30.2%

Fort Collins

7.8%

5.8%

8.5%

24.7%

46.8%

Laporte CDP

8.8%

2.0%

10.7%

12.7%

34.2%

Loveland

9.9%

5.6%

6.9%

14.3%

36.8%

Wellington

6.7%

5.3%

5.3%

8.7%

26.0%

2006-2010 ACS

30-34%

35-39%

40-49%

50% or more

TOTAL %

United States

8.4%

6.6%

8.5%

23.9%

47.0%

Colorado

8.8%

6.3%

8.7%

24.1%

48.0%

Larimer County

9.3%

6.0%

8.3%

30.2%

53.9%

Berthoud

3.0%

0.0%

13.1%

30.1%

46.2%

Estes Park

6.2%

10.6%

10.6%

31.7%

59.1%

Fort Collins

10.1%

6.5%

7.9%

33.6%

58.2%

Laporte CDP

18.1%

4.2%

17.4%

22.3%

61.9%

Loveland

8.9%

5.3%

8.7%

26.1%

48.9%

Wellington

7.9%

5.0%

4.8%

17.5%

35.3%

See chart