Patrick Holwell, workforce economist for Arapahoe/Douglas Works, said there's a gap between home prices and incomes in the region, and that gap is widening.
“People who aspire to own a home are looking at it going steadily out of their reach,” Holwell said. “Their income isn't growing as fast as home prices.”
In January, the median sales price of a single-family home in the metro area was $380,000, up 10 percent from a year ago, according to DMAR.
According to data Holwell compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau, a growing number of potential buyers across the region can't afford a new home.
Prices are out of range for at least 205,000 households in Denver. In Jefferson County, a minimum of 150,891households are stuck where they are. At least 98,903 Adams County households and 134,818 Arapahoe County households are priced out, while Douglas County had at least 50,714 households not making enough to buy a home.
Robert Smith, Lakewood's economic development director, said the cost burden of owning or renting in today's market has consequences that ripple through the local economy. More income spent on rent or mortgage payments means less money for eating out, shopping and other discretionary spending.
"Cost burden affects not only an individual household’s quality of life," Smith said via email. It "also affects the business community that depends on their spending."
Another strain on the household budget is money spent on gas and bus fare.
"Households that do buy in this market are forced either to enter a cost-burdened situation or find less expensive housing farther from their place of work," Smith said, "which in turn leads to greater spending on transportation."
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