Some relief for metro-Denver renters

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The average apartment rental rate in metro Denver in the fourth quarter of 2016 was $1,346 per month, a slight decrease from the previous quarter but an increase of 4 percent over the same period in 2015, according to the latest report from the Apartment Association of Metro Denver and the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business.

Average rents were down about 1.5 percent from the previous quarter, when rents were $1,367, which is welcome news to renters in metro Denver, who have been dealing with dramatic rent increases for at least the past two years.

The 4-percent year-over-year increase, from $1,291, is smaller than the annual increase between the fourth quarters in 2014 and 2015, which amounted to more than 10 percent.

Rents quoted in the study include apartments of all types, sizes and ages in the metro area.

The average vacancy rate in metro Denver showed a similar trend, increasing quarter-to-quarter from 5.1 percent to 6.2 percent while decreasing from 6.8 percent in the same period of 2015.

“There is definitely a seasonal effect,” said Mark Williams, executive vice president of the Apartment Association of Metro Denver, “Vacancies tend to be higher in the fourth quarter than in the third. However, Denver’s average vacancy rate for 2016 is the highest we’ve seen since 2010.”

New construction once again contributed to the changes in both vacancy and rent, with 2,470 new apartment units completed during the fourth quarter.

“In 2010, only 498 new apartment units were built in the entire city. Fast forward to 2016 and we’re seeing that same number being delivered every three weeks in Denver,” said Teo Nicolais, a Harvard University instructor who specializes in real estate.

According to the survey used to tally the numbers in the report, which is conducted via mail and online submissions, developers completed a total 9,962 apartment units in 2016.

“That’s the most apartments we’ve built during one year in Denver’s entire history,” Nicolais said.

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