Thursday, February 11, 2010

Colorado apartment vacancy numbers mixed

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The Colorado statewide apartment vacancy rate for 2009’s fourth quarter decreased to 7.9 percent, falling from 2008’s fourth quarter rate of 8.0 percent. According to a report released Thursday by the Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing, several local markets reported rising vacancies with Pueblo and Grand Junction reporting the largest increases with vacancies now at 12.2 percent and 13.2 percent, respectively.

Among large metropolitan areas, Fort Collins and Loveland reported the lowest vacancy rates at 6.3 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively. All other metro areas measured in the survey reported vacancy rates above 7 percent. In Pueblo, rates rose from 7.2 percent to 12.2 percent year over year, while they rose from 3.1 percent to 13.2 percent in Grand Junction during the same period.

Third quarter vacancies in the metro Denver area, measured in a separate survey last month, were at 7.7 percent.

Vacancy rates in all metropolitan areas were Colorado Springs, 8.7 percent; Ft. Collins/Loveland, 6.3 percent; Grand Junction, 13.2 percent; Greeley, 7.4 percent; Pueblo, 12.2 percent.

“Grand Junction is certainly the area that really attracts attention in this report, and it highlights just how diverse the local economies in Colorado are.” said Gordon Von Stroh, professor of business at the University of Denver, and the report’s author. “In Grand Junction, vacancies have basically tripled, but they’re down in Colorado Springs, and they’re up by about 70 percent in Pueblo. Employment and housing supply are really making a difference in different regions of the state right now.”

In general, a vacancy rate of 5 percent is considered to be the “equilibrium rate.”

Average rent levels were also mixed across the state. As expected, average rents fell in Grand Junction in response to rising vacancies year over year, but remained flat in Colorado Springs in spite of falling vacancies. The biggest increase was seen in the Ft. Collins/Loveland region where average rents increased by over 40 dollars from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter of 2009.

Average rents in the Ft. Collins/Loveland area rose year over year from $809.81 to $854.10, and fell from $666.22 to $633.46 in Grand Junction during the same period. In spite of a rising vacancy rate, average rents rose in Pueblo from $518.26 to $541.44 year-over-year.

Average rents in all metropolitan areas measured were Colorado Springs, $711.66, Ft. Collins/Loveland, $854.10; Grand Junction, $633.46; Greeley, $636.86; Pueblo, $541.44.

The Vacancy and Rent Surveys are a service provided by the Colorado Division of Housing to renters and the multi-family housing industry on a quarterly basis. The Colorado 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. The Report is available online at the Division of Housing web site: