Please visit DU’s COVID-19 website and subscribe to @uofdenver Twitter for updates regarding COVID-19.

Despite thousands of new apartments coming onto the market in metro Denver, the average rent climbed $63 in 2013 compared to the previous year, from $978 to $1,041.

The rent increases came despite an apartment vacancy rate that increased to 5.2 percent during the fourth quarter of 2013, the highest in two years.

The average rent rose in all counties measured in the fourth quarter. The largest increases were found in Denver County and the Boulder/Broomfield area, where average rents grew by 8.1 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively.

Analysts for the Colorado Division of Housing and the Apartment Association of Metro Denver placed the blame on the migration of well-paid single people who want to move to nice apartments, such as those being built around Union Station and downtown Denver.

Ryan McMaken, an economist for the Division of Housing, said that in Denver, these up-and-comers are being targeted by apartment developers.

“Denver is benefiting right now from a lot of people who are still at a young age,” said McMaken. “They aren’t married; they don’t have children. There seems to be quite a lot of demand for those units that are close in, don’t have particularly good parking and don’t have places for pets. That doesn’t bother a lot of young people looking for a unit right now.”

The demand for apartments by the newcomers is so great that “the new construction — if it is going to push down rents — is going to take some time to do it. It did not happen immediately,” said McMaken.

McMaken said the new apartments are high quality and the developers had to spend a lot of money to acquire the land and build.

“It (an apartment) is going to be a high-end unit no matter what,” he said. “They may build even above that level because they may think very, very, very high rents.”

Ron Throupe, associate professor of real estate at the University of Denver Daniels College of Business and co-author of the report, said the lifestyle that newcomers choose — apartments over homes — is a big factor.

“Denver … has been one of the hottest spots for young adults,” said Throupe. “When they come to town, they aren’t going to buy a house. They are going to move in with a friend or get a unit on their own.”

He said there are 10,000 to 12,000 apartments currently being built in the metro area. The units will be slowly absorbed in the next two to three years.