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Vacant units rare in Rocky Mountains

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO Colorado

Apartment vacancy rates in Colorado continued to decline during the first three months of 2007, with the lowest vacancies being reported in northern, central and western Colorado.

Vacancies continue to be the lowest in mountain communities and in the Grand Junction area where rates have now dipped below 3 percent,according to a report released Thursday by the Colorado Division of Housing.

Grand Junction reported its lowest vacancy rate in over a decade with 1.5 percent, and in the central mountains, vacancy rates ranged from 0.7 percent in Aspen to 2.8 percent in Summit County.

A vacancy rate below 5 percent is generally considered a signal of a tight market.

Although vacancies have declined in most areas, there have been few substantial increases in average rents. Increases in average rents in mountain communities were not dramatic, with Eagle County reporting an increase of $13 to $1092 from $1079 since the first quarter of last year.

Gordon Von Stroh, report author and Professor of Business at the University of Denver said that it is difficult to identify any single trend at work in the state.

Kathi Williams, director of the Colorado Division of Housing, said the very low vacancy rates on the Western Slope mean the agency is looking at funding housing development in those tight markets.

“An example of the need for housing that workers can afford is the situation in Glenwood Springs,” Williams said. “Many new jobs have been created in Glenwood Springs in recent years, but relatively little housing has been produced along with those jobs. Finding a way to bring more multi-family housing to the area could help relieve the traffic congestion in those areas while making it easier for employers to staff their businesses.”

Vacancies on the Front Range differ so much from vacancies in the mountains largely due to the much higher volume of new development produced on the Front Range.

“Although there has been growth in the mountains as well as on the Front Range, land prices and the amount of developable land make it very difficult to develop new housing in the mountains,” said Susan Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

The Colorado Statewide Vacancy and Rent Study is available online at the Division of Housing Web site: http://dola.colorado.gov/cdh/vacancy/index.htm


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