Less available than state thinks | VailDaily.com

Less available than state thinks

Alex Miller

Fort Morgan’s starting to look pretty good for apartment hunters willing to trade mountain views for windswept plains.The small town in northeastern Colorado has the lowest rental rates in the state, according to the latest survey put out by the Colorado Division of Housing. At just $363 a month for a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment, Fort Morgan is the polar opposite of Aspen, where a similar unit will run you $1,111. In Eagle County, the figure is $1,047. (An informal check of Vail Daily classifieds Tuesday, just looking at two-bedroom rentals in Avon, showed 18 units with an average monthly rental of $1,252).Vacancy rates, a measure of what’s available to rent, tell another story.The Division of Housing, which updates its Multifamily Rental and Vacancy Survey twice a year, released the latest figures at the end of April. What they show is an average apartment vacancy rate of 9.2 percent in Eagle County for the first three months of this year. That’s down significantly from the 20.4 percent reported for the same period last year, but it’s still a lot higher than it really is, according to KT Gazunis, director of the Eagle County Housing Department.”The Division of Housing survey is (inaccurate),” she said, adding that her department surveys more than 1,400 units each month, showing vacancy rates mostly in the 3 percent to 5 percent range.”In housing, 5 percent vacancy really means 100 percent occupancy because of turnover,” Gazunis said. “When you see number like 1 percent or 3 percent like we show, it really means there’s nothing available.”Some of the highest vacancy rates – over 10 percent – are found in larger units of four or five bedrooms, according to Eagle County’s figures.”The high vacancies in the resort communities are primarily in apartments with rents exceeding $1,000 a month,” said Kathi Williams, director of the Division of Housing. “The supply of apartments with affordable rents remains limited … there is still a need for rental apartments priced affordable for today’s salaries.”Vail, Colorado

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