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Springs vacancies remain high, but arrival of troops may signal change
February 10, 2009
Apartment vacancy rates in the Colorado Springs area decreased to 10.4 percent during the fourth quarter of 2008. According to a report released today by the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado, the Colorado Division of Housing and Apartment Realty Advisors, the rate is down from 10.8 percent as reported during the same period last year, but it is up from this 2008’s third quarter rate of 9.2 percent.
The area with the highest vacancies in the Colorado Springs metro area was the Security/Widefield/Fountain area with a vacancy rate of 24.9 percent. The “southeast” region reported the second-highest vacancy rate of 18.4 percent. All other regions reported rates below 10 percent.
The areas with the lowest vacancy rates were the “southwest” region and “central” region with vacancy rates of 8.0 percent and 8.5 percent respectively.
Colorado Springs vacancy rates remain the highest for any metropolitan area of the state. Vacancy rates in the metro Denver area and northern Colorado have recently ranged from 5 to 8 percent. From 1995 to 2001, vacancy rates in the 4 to 6 percent range were common in Colorado Springs, but rates have not dropped below 8 percent since the third quarter of 2001, and have often remained above 10 percent.
“Statewide, vacancy rates have been ticking upward due to weakness in the economy,” said Kathi Williams, director of the Colorado Division of Housing. “While Colorado Springs is not immune to this, the fact that 6,500 additional troops are still set to arrive in the region this year will certainly have an effect.”
Since it was announced that Fort Carson would receive new troops from closing bases like Fort Hood, observers have predicted that high vacancies would disappear once the troops arrived.
According to Laura Russmann, executive director of the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado, there has been a recent surge in interest for apartments in Colorado Springs.
“Our members are seeing a dramatic increase in soldiers looking for apartments. Properties close to the base are filling up quickly,” said Russmann, whose organization represents property managers and owners in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. “Apartment owners are thankful for the increase but remain cautiously optimistic due to the ongoing deployments.”
In spite of double-digit vacancy rates, average rents in Colorado Springs reached an all-time high of $713.28, increasing ten dollars from a year earlier when the average rent was reported as $703.82. Rents are also up since the third quarter when the average rent was $699.09. However, average rents have remained largely unchanged since 2006 when rent level hovered around $700.00 and peaked at $703.10 during the first quarter.
“For a large portion of our membership, rents have not increased for several years, said Russmann. “This has caused many financial difficulties which are only exacerbated by the increases in cost associated with maintaining the properties.”
The Vacancy and Rent Surveys are a service provided by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Colorado Division of Housing and the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado to renters and the multi-family housing industry on a quarterly basis. The Colorado Springs Area Vacancy and Rent Survey reports averages and, as a result, there are often differences in rental and vacancy rates by size, location, age of building, and apartment type. For more information, please contact the Apartment Association of Metro Denver at http://www.aacshq.org ; or please visit the Colorado Division of Housing web site: http://dola.colorado.gov/cdh/