Average rent continues to rise in Springs

Average apartment rent rose in the Colorado Springs metro for the 16th consecutive quarter (year over year) at the close of 2013, according to a report released Friday by the Colorado Division of Housing and the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado.

The report indicated that the average rent for Springs residents rose $9 (or 1 percent) to $799 compared to the same quarter of 2012. Although the year-over-year rate has increased for 16 straight quarters, the report specified that average rent is down from $830 during the third quarter of 2013.

These rates increased throughout all regions of Colorado Springs except the Southwest, which saw an average of $727. The largest average apartment rent increase was seen in the Northeast region, where rates increased 5.4 percent from $721 in fourth quarter 2012 to $760 last quarter.

“Demand for apartments softened during the fourth quarter as it usually does, but overall, 2013 saw some solid increases in average rents,” Ryan McMaken, an economist with the Colorado Division of Housing, said in a release. “The rate of increase in rents during the fourth quarter was the smallest we’ve seen in a couple of years, though, reflecting the effects of new apartment construction and a flat employment situation.”

The report also showed that apartment vacancy rates across the metro continue to fall and were at 6 percent in fourth quarter 2013 compared to 7.1 percent in the same quarter of 2012. Decreased vacancy rates took place in the Northeast, Southeast and Central submarkets while vacancies rose in the Northwest, Far Northeast and Security/Widefield/Fountain submarkets.

“New apartment unit construction does have an impact. If we include brand-new projects that are leasing up in the region, the vacancy rate metro-wide is actually 7.1 percent, and it’s 13 percent in the Far-Northeast where many new units are,” McMaken said. “El Paso County was also the No. 1 county for new single-family homes permitted in 2013, and new homes in the area do have an impact on apartment occupancy.”