Denver's Home Affordability Is Second Worst in USA – Westword
According to a new study, Denver County has the second worst home affordability of 432 counties analyzed across the country, including those in every major U.S. metropolitan area.
One big reason: Over the past nine years or so, median home prices in Denver County have risen 215 percent, but during the same period, average wages have only gone up 17 percent.
“That’s the evidence of the imbalance,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of ATTOM Data Solutions, which has just released a comprehensive report about home affordability nationwide. “The numbers are almost absurd.”
ATTOM’s data crunchers calculate home affordability based on a number of factors, including annualized weekly wages and the percentage of annualized wages needed to purchase a home in a given area. They then assign a number to each county, with 100 serving as the base line. In counties that score above 100, homes are more affordable by comparison with historical average since the first quarter of 2005, when ATTOM started tracking the stats, and less affordable in counties that register less than 100.
Denver’s score: 72. Only Michigan’s Genesee County, the location of Flint, came in lower, at 70. And as Blomquist points out, Flint’s economy is among the most troubled in the nation over the past decade-plus. “Home prices there are actually very low,” he says, “but they’re coming from a much lower place, and the correction has been severe.”
As this observation implies, ATTOM uses a home-affordability metric that looks beyond price.
“We’re not saying that Denver is the second-most expensive market in the country,” he stresses. “There are certainly markets that have higher prices than Denver does. We’re talking about Denver’s historic averages of affordability. So basically, we’re comparing Denver to itself — and when we do