Colorado Springs-area apartment rents jumped to a record high in the second quarter, as a somewhat better jobs picture, more people moving to town and limited numbers of newly constructed units coming on line combined to drive up demand and send rents soaring.
The average rent for local apartments rose to $807.21 a month during the period from April through June, according to a report released Monday by the Colorado Division of Housing and the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado.
It was the highest monthly rent ever recorded in the Housing Division-Apartment Association report, which surveys area apartment complex managers, owners and property managers about current market conditions.
The latest average monthly rent also was up by nearly $20 from the first quarter of this year and up about $30 from the second quarter of 2012, the report showed.
As rents headed one way, the area's apartment vacancy rate went in the opposite direction.
The second quarter vacancy rate of 5.4 percent was the lowest in 12 years, according to the report. The vacancy rate had been 5.6 percent in the first quarter of this year and 6 percent in the second quarter of last year.
While several new apartment projects have been announced by developers over the last couple of years, the number of units completed and available for rent has yet to significantly increase the overall supply, according to the report.
So far in 2013, 260 new apartments have been added to the inventory of apartments; by comparison, 1,449 units came on line in 2003.
The area's unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in May, and has been unchanged for three consecutive months. Meanwhile, the pace at which jobs were added in May was the slowest this year.
Still, there's been enough improvement on the jobs front - along with a continued increase in population - to result in a vacancy rate decline and higher rents.
"It seems that employment has improved enough at this point where the (apartment) owners are able to push rents, they're able to get those (higher) rents," said Ryan McMaken, a Housing Division economist. "There's enough people demanding the units. There are enough people with money and jobs to really sustain some significant rent growth at this time."
McMaken said he expects rents to continue rising during the second half of this year - assuming the demand for apartments remains at current levels and there isn't a flood of new units coming on line.
Around Colorado Springs, second-quarter rents were highest on the city's far northeast side - areas north of Platte Avenue and east of Academy Boulevard, where apartments averaged $901.68 a month. The lowest average rents of $664.39 were found in the city of Fountain and the unincorporated Security-Widefield areas south of the Springs.
The Springs' northeast side - areas generally sandwiched between Academy and Interstate 25 - had a 4 percent vacancy rate in the second quarter, which was the area's lowest.
A vacancy rate of 8 percent on the city's southeast side, southeast of Platte Avenue and Circle Drive, was the area's highest.
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