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Apartment vacancies drop to lowest levels in a decade

Thu, Apr 21, 2011

News

It’s getting harder to find an apartment in Colorado Springs.

Vacancy rates for the metro area fell to 5.8 percent during the first quarter, the lowest since 2001, and a 15.7 percent drop from the same time period in 2010.

More people moved into apartments in the first quarter of 2011 than in the last quarter of 2010, but that’s to be expected, according to a report released today by the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado and the Colorado Division of Housing.

It’s been hard to find an apartment here for a while – it’s the eighth quarter in a row in which vacancy rates have dropped, the report said.

“The vacancy rate hasn’t been lower than this in any quarter since the third quarter of 2001 when the vacancy rate was at 5.4 percent. That was two recessions ago.” said Ryan McMaken, a spokesman with the Division of Housing. “It’s taken 10 years for the vacancy rate to return to where it was before the 2002 recession hit Colorado, but with so little new construction, and with a continued troop presence in the region, it looks like rates may stay low, at least in the near term.”

Year over year, vacancy rates fell the most in the southwest and part of the city, close to Fort Carson. In that part of the city, vacancy rates are hovering around 3 percent. The northwest market also has a low rate, of about 3.6 percent.

While that’s good news for landlords, there’s bad news forrenters.

Rent is increasing. The area’s average rent rose 3.7 percent to $737, up from $710 a year ago. The average rent rose in every area of the city except the southeast and in the Security, Widefield and Fountain areas.

Increasing rent is a trend that’s been around for a while as well.

“The average rent in the Colorado Springs has not gone down in any quarter since the third quarter of 2009. For the last six quarters, the average rent has either been flat or it’s gone up, and when comparing year over year, the average rent has increased five quarters in a row,” said Gordon Von Stroh, professor of business at the University of Denver, and the report’s author. “We haven’t seen this kind of rent growth across the Colorado Springs area in more than 10 years.”

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