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In Colorado’s heated real estate market, is it better to be a renter right now?

Owning a home now costs $987 more per month than renting. But not every city or town is the same.

Apartment units are seen in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.(Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)
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Feel like there’s no chance you can buy a house? You may be better off renting anyway. With national average mortgage payments of $2,576.39, that’s above average rent of $1,589 in Colorado, according to ApartmentList. Owning a home now costs $987 more per month than renting. 

And while it’s overall better to rent right now with rising mortgage rates, some cities’ average rental prices are way above the rest. Superior, Highlands Ranch and Castle Rock are among the most expensive cities to live in for renters, with the average rent in Superior through May at $2,399, perhaps because many homes were burned or damaged by smoke in the Marshall fire. That’s $810 above Colorado’s average and $1,056 above the national average.

In contrast, Greeley, Englewood and Colorado Springs are among the cities with the lowest rent prices.

If you’re a renter in Denver, you might want to stay that way. Despite being one of the state’s hottest real estate markets, Denver is one of the least expensive cities in Colorado in terms of rent pricing. The city has an average monthly rent of $1,572, below Colorado’s average. 

In comparison, Denver’s median housing listing price is $695,000 and the average monthly mortgage payment is $2,540 as of January. Being a homeowner costs $968 more monthly than living as a renter in Denver. 

But … evictions?

As we approach a year since the eviction moratorium expired, eviction filings — for the most part — have stayed below pre-pandemic numbers. Although we’ve seen a gradual climb in evictions since early 2021, eviction numbers have stayed below the 2019 numbers, pre-pandemic numbers and the 20-year average. 

March was the sole month, which saw a jump in eviction filings, with 3,667, in a return to pre-pandemic numbers. 

While evictions have been steadily increasing since the moratorium expired July 31, evictions declined in April and May, both in the Denver area and Colorado as a whole. 

Henry Eisler from the Colorado Apartment Association expressed confidence in the strength of the housing market, noting Coloradans have been able to make rent at high rates. 

“The uptick in March didn’t reflect a dramatic increase — just a return to the pre-pandemic, statewide average, as Colorado’s rental market recovered from the pandemic and 14-month moratorium,” Eisler said. “The subsequent decline in eviction filings during April and May is a strong positive indicator for the health of Colorado’s multifamily housing market.” 

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