The apartment vacancy rate in the Denver metro area fell to 4.6 percent during the first quarter of 2013, dropping to the second-lowest vacancy rate recorded in any quarter since the first quarter of 2001. According to a report released Monday by the Apartment Association of Metro Denver and the Colorado Division of Housing, the metro Denver vacancy rate was down from 2012’s first-quarter rate of 4.9 percent, and was also down from last year’s fourth-quarter rate of 4.9 percent.
For the past fourteen quarters, the vacancy rate has fallen when compared to the same quarter one year earlier. The last time the quarterly vacancy rate rose year over year was during the third quarter of 2009.
From the first quarter of 2012 to the same period of 2013, the vacancy rate dropped in Arapahoe County, Jefferson County, and the Boulder Broomfield area. The rate rose in Adams County, Denver County, and Douglas County during the same period.
“The number of new apartments delivered has increased rapidly since 2010, but the numbers haven’t been large enough so far to push vacancy rates up significantly, said Ryan McMaken, an economist with the Colorado Division of Housing. “We do see some submarkets where vacancies are temporarily up as new communities lease up, but that’s not indicative of a decline in demand.”
As vacancy rates moved down, the area’s average rent increased to the highest level recorded in any quarter. During the first quarter of 2013, the average rent in metro Denver rose to $992, increasing 4.2 percent, or $40, from 2012’s first-quarter average rent of $952.
The average rent rose in all counties measured except Adams County, with the largest increases found in Douglas County and in the Boulder/Broomfield area where the average rents grew year over year by 6.9 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.
The county areas with the highest average rents were Douglas County and the Boulder/Broomfield area where the average rents were $1,186 and $1,150, respectively. Adams County reported the lowest average rent at $910.
“Rent growth is solid, and even when adjusted for inflation, the average rent is almost to a nine-year high,” McMaken said.
2013’s first-quarter vacancy rates by county were Adams, 5.2 percent; Arapahoe, 4.1 percent; Boulder/Broomfield, 3.2 percent; Denver, 5.4 percent; Douglas, 6.5 percent; Jefferson, 3.7 percent.
Average rents for all counties were: Adams, $910; Arapahoe, $950; Boulder/Broomfield, $1,150; Denver, $1,008; Douglas, $1,186; and Jefferson, $958.