The third quarter apartment scene: Vacancies down, rents up in metro Denver

Corporations moving to Denver increased demand.

Apartments in Capitol Hill, Nov. 13, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Apartments in Capitol Hill, Nov. 13, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Vacancies were at their lowest in four years and rents were up a bit in metro Denver compared to last year.

The Apartment Association of Metro Denver, a landlords group, released the vacancy and rent survey for the third quarter on Wednesday. It pegged average rents at $1,506, a 2.8 percent increase over the same quarter last year and down slightly from the second quarter of 2019.

The average vacancy rate fell to 4.7 in the third quarter,  just under 1 percent less than in the same quarter last year. It was the lowest vacancy rate across the Denver area since the second quarter of 2015, according to the results of the survey that the Apartment Association of Metro Denver coordinates and publishes and which is conducted by the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business and Colorado Economic and Management Associates and sponsored by The Colorado Department of Housing.

In a statement accompanying the release of the survey results, Terrance Hunt, vice chair Newmark Knight Frank Multifamily’s Denver office, said corporate moves to the area increased demand for apartments. Meanwhile, he said, the number of building permits decreased 24 percent in the past year.

“It does create a concern that the lack of future deliveries (of completed buildings) combined with already low vacancy will put upward pressure on rents,” Hunt said.

Teo Nicolais, an instructor at Harvard Extension School who specializes in real estate and is a member of the apartment association, said the annual apartment construction rate is the slowest since the fourth quarter of 2016.

Over the past 12 months, 10,341 new units gave the Denver metro area a total of 355,378 rentals. In 2016, 9,962 units were built in the previous year.  Since that 2016 low, year-over-year apartment construction has averaged 12,117 a year.

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