Industry leaders believe first quarter apartment vacancy increases and average rent decreases are seasonal.
Apartment vacancy in buildings with 50 or more units increased slightly to 5.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013. While higher than the fourth quarter of 2012, it was still lower than the average 7 percent vacancy Apartment Insights reported in the first quarter of 2012.
Gross rents also decreased $3 to $752 in the first quarter of the year, according to the quarterly Apartment Insights report compiled by Doug Carter, an apartment broker at Sperry Van Ness. But rents are still above their average a year ago.
“That mirrors what our members are talking about,” said Laura Nelson, executive director of the Southern Colorado Apartment Association.
However, she said the first quarter of the year and the last quarter are always slower for apartments. She expects rents to continue growing on average and vacancies to continue declining.
“I haven’t heard of anyone offering concessions,” she said.
The rental market is still strong despite the recent and expected seasonal dip, she said.
“I think people really start moving — they wait until the kids are out of school in late May and early June,” Nelson said.