Apartment vacancies down, sales increase

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Eight apartment properties sold in Colorado Springs during the third quarter of this year.

Those are big sales figures, said Doug Carter, an apartment broker with Sperry Van Ness and publisher of the quarterly Apartment Insights market analysis.

There’s good reason for a surge in apartment property sales, Carter said. The vacancy rate dropped to 5.8 percent in the third quarter. That’s the lowest vacancy rate this year, according to the report. But it’s still higher than last year’s record low of 5.2 percent in the second quarter.

“The low vacancy rates mean rents are going to continue to rise,” Carter said.

The average gross rent increased $10 to $757, which is 3 percent higher than it was in 2011, according to the Apartment Insights report.

Increasing rent is good news for apartment property owners and investors who saw vacancy rates near or above 10 percent for most of the last decade.

“It will allow upgrades and improvements to properties,” Carter said.

Many property owners deferred maintenance through hard times and properties didn’t sell with nearly the frequency they’re now changing hands.

This change in the market means older apartments will likely be spruced up and that there will be a market for some of the new properties currently being built.