Colorado apartment vacancy rate falls to 5.0 percent, rents rise
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The vacancy rate in Colorado apartments fell during the third quarter of 2011, dropping to the lowest rate recorded since 2001. According to a report released Thursday by the Colorado Division of Housing, the combined vacancy rate for apartments in 22 markets across Colorado during the third quarter was 5.0 percent. The vacancy rate was 5.5 percent during the third quarter of last year, and the rate was 5.2 percent during the second quarter of this year.
The Colorado statewide vacancy rate has not been below 5.0 percent since the first quarter of 2001 when the rate was 4.3 percent.
The year-over-year drop in the statewide rate reflects declines in the vacancy rates in eighteen of the twenty-two markets surveyed. All metropolitan areas of the state reported declines in vacancies, year over year. Among smaller markets, only Canon City, Durango and Montrose reported increases in the vacancy rate.
Among the state’s metro areas, the largest drop was found in Greeley where the vacancy rate fell from 3.9 percent during the third quarter of 2010 to 1.8 percent during the same period this year.
The metro Denver vacancy rate, measured last month in a separate survey, fell year-over-year from 5.3 percent to 4.9 percent.
Vacancy rates in all metropolitan areas were Colorado Springs, 6.2 percent; Ft. Collins/Loveland, 2.3 percent; Grand Junction, 7.7 percent; Greeley, 1.8 percent; Pueblo, 7.3 percent.
“Declining vacancies are now a statewide trend, and it’s no longer a matter of just a few tight markets,” said Ron Throupe, an assistant professor of business at the University of Denver and the report’s author. “Even among the areas with sizable drops in vacancies, northern Colorado stands out with rates in Larimer County and in Greeley now dropping below 4 percent.”
Average rents across the state have increased as vacancies have fallen.
The statewide average rent in Colorado increased 3.1 percent from the third quarter of last year to the third quarter of this year, rising from $871 to $898. Across metro areas in the state, however, growth in average rents varied considerably. The average rent in the Colorado Springs area, for example, increased 6.7 percent, year over year, while the average rent in Pueblo fell 1.8 percent. During the same period, the average rent in Greeley increased 3.1 percent while the average rent in Grand Junction was unchanged.
The largest increase in the average rent was found in the Fort Collins/Loveland area where the average rent increased 8.5 percent from the third quarter of last year to the same period this year.
“Now that a trend of declining vacancies has been firmly established in some areas, we’re starting to see rent growth accelerate,” said Ryan McMaken, a spokesman with the Colorado Division of Housing. “Not surprisingly, Fort Collins and Loveland are showing some of the largest growth, but Colorado Springs is also starting to show a solid upward trend as well.”
Average rents in all metropolitan areas measured were Colorado Springs; $778, Ft. Collins/Loveland, $954; Grand Junction, $655; Greeley, $682; Pueblo, $541.
The metro Denver average rent, measured in a separate survey, was $936 during the third quarter.
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: www.divisionofhousing.com