Apartment vacancies rise in Denver; rents remain flat

Date: Jan. 29th, 2009
Contact: Margaret Jackson Denver Post
Apartment vacancy rates in metro Denver increased to 7.9 percent during the fourth quarter of 2008, the highest level reported in three years, according to a report released Wednesday by the Apartment Association of Metro Denver.

That's up from 6.5 percent in the third quarter and 6.1 percent during the same period in 2007.

"Unemployment and other economic factors are having an impact on this sector," said Gordon Von Stroh, professor of management at the University of Denver Daniels College of Business.

The rise in vacancies can be partly attributed to the number of young people choosing to stay in their parents' homes or find roommates, said Jeff Hawks of Apartment Realty Advisors.

Adams County reported the highest vacancy rate at 8.8 percent, and the Boulder/Broomfield area reported the lowest at 6.1 percent. All areas reported increased vacancies compared with the fourth quarter of 2007. Vacancy rates in other counties surveyed were Arapahoe, 8.3 percent; Denver, 8 percent; Douglas, 7.4 percent; and Jefferson, 7.3 percent.

Average rents increased to $888.22, up $28 from the fourth quarter of 2007. But overall, rents have been flat since the second quarter last year, when the average was $886.14.

"People are trying to be thrifty, so they're not going to be looking for luxury apartments like two years ago," said Ryan McMaken, community- relations coordinator for the Colorado Division of Housing. "One-bedrooms and efficiencies are becoming more popular."

Margaret Jackson: 303-954-1473 or