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Apartment vacancies fell across Colorado as rents rose during the fourth quarter of 2010, signaling a surprising amount of growth in demand for housing in spite of limited wage and job growth. According to a report released today by the Colorado Division of Housing, from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the fourth quarter of 2010, vacancies fell year-over-year in all six metropolitan areas of the state measured by the survey, including Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Grand Junction and Colorado Springs.
The largest drop in the vacancy rate was found in Grand Junction where, year-over-year, the rate fell 43 percent from 13.2 percent to 7.5 percent. During the same period, the vacancy rate fell 30 percent in Greeley and 35 percent in the Fort Collins/Loveland area.
The metro Denver vacancy rate, reported last month in a separate survey, also fell year-over-year from 7.7 percent to 5.5 percent during the fourth quarter.
“The Denver area and northern Colorado have some of the tightest markets right now, said Ryan McMaken, a spokesman for the Division of Housing. “It’s not surprising that Fort Collins, which has one of the strongest job markets, also has some of the lowest vacancy rates.”
Vacancy rates in all metropolitan areas were Colorado Springs, 7.2 percent; Ft. Collins/Loveland, 4.1 percent; Grand Junction, 7.5 percent; Greeley, 5.1 percent; Pueblo, 10.2 percent.
In spite of falling vacancies, median rents showed limited growth across the state for the fourth quarter. The Fort Collins/Loveland area was the only area showing substantial increases in median rents. In the Fort Collins/Loveland region overall, the median rent increased 6.2 percent year-over-year from $821.29 to $872.83 during the fourth quarter. In Loveland, the median rents rose 22 percent from $751.00 to $916.45 during the same period. In all other metro areas, the median rent either fell or rose by less than 2 percent. In Greeley, the average rent fell 0.4 percent from $619.58 to $616.79, year-over-year. The median rent also fell 0.6 percent in Grand Junction.
“We’ve still only seen significant rent increases in certain areas of the state,” said Gordon Von Stroh, a professor of business at the University of Denver, and the report author. “But I do expect to see rent growth become more common and more widespread as time goes on.”
Median rents in all metropolitan areas measured were Colorado Springs, $711.12, Ft. Collins/Loveland, $872.83; Grand Junction, $637.37; Greeley, $616.79; Pueblo, $483.14.
The metro Denver median rent, measured in a separate survey, was $846.36 for the fourth quarter.