Denver’s median rent prices are the lowest in the metro area, and that’s totally normal

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Apartments for rent in Washington Park West. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) Washington Park West; real estate; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite; residential

Downtown apartments seen from inside The Confluence Denver, Oct. 26, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

recent report published by the Apartment List shows an increase in rent prices over the past year, but Denver proper has seen some of the lowest yearly rent increases in the Denver metro area.

Due to these lower yearly increases in rent and other mitigating factors, Denver proper currently has the lowest median rental rates in the entire Denver metro area — and the Denver metro area is enormous.

Chris Salviati, a housing economist, described the phenomenon of having a lower median rent price in the core city of a metro area, as par for the course.

One thing that metropolises have that their surrounding areas don’t is a diversity in housing options and types of neighborhoods. These variables lower the overall median cost of housing in the core city of a metro area. He noted that while prices may be higher in those surrounding areas, the amenities provided for those units tend to increase and become more uniform as the costs rise.

“Suburbs tend to be more homogenous, so there are not as many variations. The type of units that you’re looking at for a one bedroom within the city of Denver is different, we’re talking about apartments. Once you get into the suburbs you might be talking about single-family home rentals,” Salviati said.

Some cities in the metro area have seen yearly increases far beyond the national average, and some of those cities have significantly higher median prices for a two-bedroom apartment than Denver. The highest rate of increase was seen in Castle Rock, where they have had a dramatic uptick of 6 percent over the past year.

Other cities have not seen substantial spikes in renting costs but still surpass the prices in Denver because of their higher starting point. The median cost for a two-bedroom abode in Denver is $1,320, and in nearby Thornton, a city that has only seen a yearly rent increase of 0.3 percent, the median cost for a two-bedroom is $1,810.

Andrea Chiriboga-Flor, an organizer for housing advocacy group 9to5 Colorado, said her members have been feeling the crunch of the rent increases in the areas surrounding Denver proper.

“Aurora for a while was considered the place to go if you got displaced from Denver because it was cheaper than Denver. It’s not a big difference now, and people are being pushed out. One of our residents got pushed out of Denver to Aurora, and now she lives in Texas,” she said.

Denver's prices, however, are still considered markedly lower than those in cities like San Francisco, where a two-bedroom apartment can cost $3,000 a month.

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