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Old 03-27-2015, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
6,530 posts, read 10,204,520 times
Reputation: 9757

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafleur View Post
Not whining for the sake of whining. I'm saying this as a forewarning to others considering this place who are in a similar position as me. I don't want them getting misinformation and getting caught up in the "mountain views" and then being surprised at what they can actually afford here. I just want to set the record straight. Denver Metro is not an affordable place to live. Period.
As others have said affordability is relative. Would Denver be affordable to someone coming from the southeast or a depressed area like the rustbelt? Maybe not, but Denver's a heck of a lot more affordable than a large swath of the Northeast and the West Coast.

I personally could go to Detroit, Dallas, Tulsa, Houston, Cleveland, etc. and buy a bigger house and have my paycheck go further, but I have zero desire to live in any of those places. Not my cup o' tea.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:14 AM
 
2,409 posts, read 2,629,145 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafleur View Post
No, I don't at all. In fact, it's my keenness to remain frugal that makes Denver Metro real estate an issue. I could live in a much nicer neighborhood and much nicer apartment than I do now, but I like to have a good chunk of change left over in case of emergencies and for savings. That's why I live in the $800/mo crapper that I live in now. It sucks, but having money in the bank feels good.

And for the record, I don't want a $300k home as my first home. I'm wanting something in the $150k-$225k range. And it doesn't have to be a SFH. I'm content with a condo or townhome in a safe location.
You don't have much saved, so it is smart to live frugally. In 3 years you'll be in a different financial situation, savings-wise and income-wise. When you start thinking about building a family, your view on housing will completely change.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:19 AM
 
2,514 posts, read 3,489,398 times
Reputation: 5069
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafleur View Post
You're wrong on one account. This is not the dynamic everywhere. In other major metro areas, there tend to be more affordable working class suburbs where first time buyers have an opportunity at buying a place. That is not true for Denver for the most part, as the suburbs are as expensive or more expensive than the actual city.

It's pretty pathetic that, at $66k/yr, (well above the median indiividual income in this country) that an individual can't find an affordable place (as a first time buyer) even in the suburbs.
This was true 20 yrs ago also. 20 yrs ago I lived in CA and made about $65K. On that salary the only thing I could afford was a condo and I would have been house poor if I bought one (meaning too much of my income would go toward paying for housing). Instead of complaining about it I launched a nation wide job search and picked Denver where I could afford to buy a house. I had been saving for the down payment but only had 20% if I bought around $150K. I qualified for $300K but would have had PMI and at the time I had trouble envisioning how I would pay that off. Whereas the $150K I could see getting it paid off early. So that is what I bought. At the time Denver was coming out of the oil depression and almost no houses I saw had any improvements over the original finishes because people had been losing money on them for decades. I bought a 1970s ranch with everything original and worn out. I remember looking at a little shack of a house adjacent to Wash Park for $150K. Actually there were quite a few of them.

So you can change your story but you have to do it in an undiscovered place like Denver was 20 yrs ago and it helps if you don't expect to buy a very nice place for your first house. You can't pick one of the hottest markets in the country and expect to skate right in and get a nice place. Even back then I couldn't get a nice place on that income (although the neighborhood was quiet and safe) and Denver wasn't the least bit trendy or booming at that time.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Denver CO
21,017 posts, read 11,648,200 times
Reputation: 31892
There are plenty of inexpensive houses in the Denver area - all over Aurora for instance, but apparently they are in places you don't want to be or the size or condition isn't what you want.

But I think your comparisons with other locations are very misguided. You mentioned New Jersey as an inexpensive alternative to NY. You aren't going to want to live in the inexpensive places in NJ (WAY worse than anywhere in Denver) plus even if you found something there, property taxes will eat you alive, 3-4 times what they are in Denver.

Your focus on Detroit - what are the odds of finding at $66K job there? What are the odds of finding another job if you needed or wanted a new one for some reason? What are the odds of selling that 100K house and making any sort of profit at all?

Plus is you are living so frugally, where is all that savings? Why don't you have 20% to put down?
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:20 AM
 
Location: The Berk in Denver, CO USA
13,954 posts, read 20,213,178 times
Reputation: 22591
Default Denver is very affordable

Here is your chance in greater Denver
http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/13738129_zpid/

As opposed to $1.2M USD

This San Francisco home 'in a deteriorative state' just sold for $1.2 million - SFGate
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:27 AM
 
170 posts, read 182,054 times
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I would say most other big cities have the same issue of affordable housing as Denver..i.e. San Fran., Los Angeles, Seattle try renting or buying a place within a reasonable commute. You can't. Whereas in Denver you can buy something for $200K in Brighton for example around a half an hour commute to downtown Denver. Those other places you are looking at twice as much for a smaller place and a half hour commute.
The only exceptions are the mid-west cities. Those rust-belt cities like Detroit because of the quality of life have a negative population growth compared to Denver and the cities mentioned above. Because of this population explosion we are having in Denver this makes it where we have low inventory right now with not enough homes being built for the demand. There is also a building boom of apartments mostly. Unfortunately, these are mostly rental condos because of the construction defects law. Because of this I have made the choice to rent for a little while until the buying frenzy slows down and there is more inventory to choose from. Again, there are risks to waiting like higher prices as home prices have increased like 15% since last year, but with the amount of building that is going on I am thinking these price increases may slow down. Prices won't drop even with the increased inventory, but if you are concerned with the prices of homes you can rent for a while until something good comes along that you are willing to pay more for and adjust your budget expectations. I have made the choice of renting for now as based on reading this forum and talking with a realtor there are bidding wars going on driving up prices of some homes unreasonably.
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
1,802 posts, read 2,073,610 times
Reputation: 2768
That SF house also is on a deep lot and happens to have an unobstructed ocean view (no homes behind) and only steps from the beach and walking path in an up and coming trendy neighborhood. Location, location, location.

Denver is definitely on it's way to becoming downright unaffordable, but it has a long way to go. As I mentioned in other posts, something has got to give pretty soon, though. Either salaries need to rise to keep pace with the cost of living, or prices will level off.
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
2,391 posts, read 1,798,220 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emm74 View Post
There are plenty of inexpensive houses in the Denver area - all over Aurora for instance, but apparently they are in places you don't want to be or the size or condition isn't what you want.
I'm not opposed to living anywhere as long as the neighborhood is relatively safe and within 25 miles of the city (preferably 15 miles). In other words, I don't want to have to move halfway out to Greeley. That's really my only criteria. I live in Denver now, but on the outskirts near Aurora and DTC. It's a terrible place for an unmarried 20-something (most of my community appears to consist of low-income, possibly undocumented, immigrants), but it's doable.

Affordable to me, as a first time buyer with no equity and a smaller down payment, is about $900-$1000/month mortgage payment, or somewhere between a $150k-$225k house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emm74
But I think your comparisons with other locations are very misguided. You mentioned New Jersey as an inexpensive alternative to NY. You aren't going to want to live in the inexpensive places in NJ (WAY worse than anywhere in Denver) plus even if you found something there, property taxes will eat you alive, 3-4 times what they are in Denver.
My point was that there are more blue collar oriented communities in those metro areas that provide more reasonable options for first time buyers. There doesn't seem to be as many of those options in Metro Denver. Even in the 'burbs, it's as if you need to be making $100k+ to live comfortably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emm74
Your focus on Detroit - what are the odds of finding at $66K job there? What are the odds of finding another job if you needed or wanted a new one for some reason? What are the odds of selling that 100K house and making any sort of profit at all?
I don't know, but I do have a handful of professional friends/acquaintances that seem to be doing well. My sister and her fiance make less than me combined and they already purchased a house in the suburbs. A lot of people who don't know anything about Metro Detroit look at Detroit proper's job market and see an astounding 10%+ u/e rate. The fact is, most good paying jobs in the area are in the suburbs. That's how Detroit is different from a lot of metro areas. The suburbs are thriving, and the core city is just recently coming around. I know a couple years ago, when I was back living there, I was offered a job at about $54k/yr in the city of Detroit.

Either way, my original point was that there are plenty of suburbs around the city that provide affordable housing options. Denver Metro does not seem to have as many of those options outside of places like Englewood and parts of Aurora. Otherwise, you seem to have to make at least $100k+ to live anywhere in the metro area comfortably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emm74
Plus is you are living so frugally, where is all that savings? Why don't you have 20% to put down?
I've spent the last several years paying down debt on student loans and a used Mazda 3 while trying to build savings. I also moved here in 2008 without a job, and accepted the first job that came my way, which paid about $30k/yr. My income has exponentially increased over the past six years to where it is now. But I only started making around $66k/yr last January. That was a big jump from my previous job, which was about $50k/yr.

My frugalness is the reason why I have any savings at all, a car that's been paid off for a couple years, and a student loan bill that has been cut down significantly. I've lived in no frills apartments for the past six years, for the most part, to make this a possibility.
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:22 AM
 
2,409 posts, read 2,629,145 times
Reputation: 1807
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafleur View Post

There doesn't seem to be as many of those options in Metro Denver. Even in the 'burbs, it's as if you need to be making $100k+ to live comfortably.
Let's settle this.

Show me, with numbers, why you have to make 100k+ in metro Denver to live comfortably. I've already shown you, with numbers, that this is untrue.
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:26 AM
 
Location: 500 miles from home
29,777 posts, read 16,488,855 times
Reputation: 22359
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafleur View Post
You have no idea what my net income is. With 401k contributions, HSA contributions, student loan payments, taxes, etc., your $1200/mo is more like 40% of my monthly net income (the 2-paychecks month; not the 3-paychecks month). And for what? A dinky 600 sq. ft. unit? My current apartment is bigger than that by 100 sq. ft. and I have barely enough space as it is (incl. storage).

Also, maybe you missed the fine print in the ad:

This unit is sold subject to Denver Affordable Housing Guidelines. Max income of $53, 700 for individual, $61, 400 for two, and appreciation limits. BUYER TO VERIFY Down payment and Closing Cost assistance available!!

If this wasn't rent controlled, I wonder what its true value would be. I'm guessing well over $200k.
Is it seriously 598 square feet? That is SMALL.
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