Metro Denver Rents Rise Despite New Construction

May 06, 2014

Denver Business Journal

press-apartmentrentupThe increasing supply of new apartments in metro Denver isn’t yet affecting low vacancies and increasing rents, according to the first-quarter report from the Apartment Association of Metro Denver.

Average monthly rents climbed to $1,074 across metro Denver, up 3 percent from Q4 2013, and rose for the third consecutive quarter, according to the report which is co-produced by the University of Denver. In Q1 2013, average rents stood at $993.

Every county in metro Denver (Adams, Araphaoe, Boulder/Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson) saw its average rent climb.

The average vacancy rate fell to 5.1 percent from 5.2 percent in the fourth quarter. That’s a slight increase from Q1 2013’s 4.6 percent, but anything around 5 percent is considered a tight market.

“The apartment industry is working feverishly to deliver more residences to meet demand but practical hurdles like a shortage of framers have resulted in construction delays,” said Mary Wessler, the Colorado regional vice president of San Diego-based ConAm Management Corp. “However additional supply is under construction and coming soon, which will offer more options to apartment renters.”

Wessler said association is tracking more than 70 new apartment developments. There were 657 new apartments delivered in Q1, according to the report.

A separate first-quarter report from ARA Colorado’s Apartment Insights showed 19,349 apartments are under construction in metro Denver, with another 19,110 in planning stages.

Report author, Dr. Ron Throupe, of DU’s Frank L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management, said even though rents continue to rise, they have “remained relatively constant or even discounted over the past dozen years” when adjusted for inflation.

“This new inventory as it becomes available will eventually put downward pressure on rents and upward pressure on vacancy rates in select submarkets,” Wessler said.

Here’s a breakdown of each county’s average monthly rent and vacancy rate for Q1:

  • Adams: $988, 4.7 percent.
  • Arapahoe: $1,026, 4.5 percent.
  • Boulder/Broomfield: $1,228, 6.7 percent.
  • Denver: $1,093, 6.8 percent.
  • Douglas: $1,262, 3.7 percent.
  • Jefferson: $1,033, 3.4 percent.