High Rent, Low Vacancy Causes Working-age Adults to ‘Double Up’

November 05, 2014

KMGH-TV 7NEWS

If you are currently looking for rental property in Denver, then you know the search for an affordable apartment can be daunting.

It’s the law of supply and demand: fewer rentals mean higher prices. The harsh reality has many people searching for roommates to keep prices affordable.

Rising rents, coupled with historically low vacancy rates have caused about 27.6 percent of all working-aged adults in Denver to double up, according to a housing report by Zillow.

The owner of Housing Helpers Denver, Tom Orlando, says rents are rising faster than incomes. On average, renters should expect to spend nearly 30 percent of their monthly income on rent, which is the highest rate ever according to the report.

“The initial reaction is always, ‘I don’t want to live with a roommate–I’m an adult,'” says Orlando.

He also says,”When you’re living alone, the typical budget is $1,000, give or take. Right now a $900 property isn’t what they’re used to living in.”

According to Zillow in 2000, the average monthly apartment rent for one bedroom was $760. That same property would cost you more than $1100 today.

Charlotte Smith is a flight attendant who says she never expected to live with a roommate as a working adult, but says living alone was no longer something she could afford.

“Oh, I couldn’t begin to afford in a place that would be desirable; it would just be outrageous,” says Smith “So this is an incredible blessing.”

A real blessing in a market where the vacancy rate is 3.9 percent, the second lowest in Denver’s history according to The Denver Metro Area Apartment Vacancy and Rent Survey.

Associate Professor Ron Throupe with University of Denver’s School of Real Estate & Construction Management says even with thousands of new apartments being built, Denver’s desirability is keeping the rental market tight.

“The in-migration of people is growing which means more housing demand including apartments,” says Throupe. 
          
It looks like rental roomies in Denver could be here to stay.