We’ve got the data to help you decide whether this is the city for you.
The latest-greatest Rent Report from ApartmentList.com helps us determine how much more or less expensive it is to live in Fort Collins CO compared with another U.S. metro area and provides insight into what’s driving rental rates here.
- The median 2-bedroom apartment in Fort Collins is renting for $1,090, which is 30.9% more expensive than the national average of $821.
- One-bedroom rents here are 7.4% less expensive than the national average ($823 vs. $910).
- The average rental price per square foot in Fort Collins is $0.97, which is 67% higher than the national average of $0.58.
- Two-bedroom apartments in Fort Collins are 22.5% more expensive than the rest of the country ($1,090 vs. $888).
- Fort Collins rents increased by 4.5% in the past year, which is less than the national average of 5.6%.
Why do prices vary so much across metro areas? There are a few potential explanations:
- Availability and desirability. A small metro area may have very little available rental housing, driving up demand and prices. Conversely, an area with many college students may be desirable for its nightlife, but not for families seeking larger homes. Some renters prefer well-kept older buildings to new construction. All these factors could affect whether it’s more expensive to rent here vs. another city.
- Job Growth. The mix of jobs in an economy can influence demand for rental housing. Most people who rent their homes are employed, so the number of jobs in an area is also important. A metro area with a large number of high-paying available jobs may attract job seekers from other areas, driving up rental prices.
- Construction. Rentals aren’t the only place where costs can vary: homeownership costs (and not just sale prices) can be markedly different across metro areas as well (see here, here, and here ). The mix of land use regulation, infrastructure conditions, and building codes may affect how expensive it is to build in an area vs. another city (e.g., check out this map ). If construction or development costs are high relative to income levels and rents that can be charged, average housing prices may exceed the national average.
- Quality of Life. Of course, it’s not just about money – people could choose to spend more on rent in order to live in a particularly desirable city or neighborhood. If a metro area is known for its quality healthcare system or top-notch universities, for example, that may attract renters who are willing to pay higher rents even if homes and apartments cost more here. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “no one ever wished they saved more for their apartment” before? This is why we consider both price and “value”: an area with a favorable combination of low costs and high quality of life may be appealing even though homes cost a little less there than elsewhere.
Is it worth living in Fort Collins?
How does the cost of living here compare to another city? Below, you can see how our cost of living compares to other U.S. cities and select cities around the world by using ApartmentList’s Cost of Living Plus Rent Index.
Compared to a lot of places around America, Fort Collins is actually pretty affordable:
- We’re tied with Houston as having one of the most reasonably priced markets in the country, with an index value of 100 (meaning that overall prices are about average). Compare this to notoriously expensive San Jose, CA which has a 172 index value or Honolulu at 121; it’s clear why some people refer to housing issues here as “the great wage robbery.” The report also indicates that we have a moderate housing market, meaning that it’s relatively easy to find affordable apartments.
- We’re (slightly) more expensive than the national average in terms of cost of living ($50,905 median income), but less expensive for renters with a median rent of $1,491/month vs. the nation at $1,408/month. This means your monthly paycheck will stretch about 33% further here than the national average (assuming you spend half your income on rent).
- Compared to the most expensive cities in the country like San Jose and Honolulu — where extreme land-use regulations have essentially eliminated rental housing — Fort Collins seems downright inexpensive. In fact, we’d need an index value under 40 to be considered to be “very affordable,” and we fall a little short at 55.
- Even though Fort Collins is generally more affordable than other U.S. cities, our cost of living can still be high depending on what you buy; for example, in 2014 we had the 16th highest housing costs out of 300 metro areas measured (costing us $812/month) whereas the average monthly food budget was only $418/month (ranking 75th lowest).
What does it mean to live here? That depends on where you come from! If you’re moving to Fort Collins from a large coastal city like San Francisco or New York City, your rent may go down — but so will your square footage. However, if you’re moving here from a smaller city or town, your rent may go up — but so will the size and number of things to do.
If you move here from New York City, you’ll pay about $650/month less for an apartment, but get nearly half the square footage (SF=697 sqft vs. FC=345 sqft). Conversely, if have California roots and are used to living in close-quarter urban sprawl in places like San Francisco or Los Angeles, then Fort Collins might feel positively spacious!