Apartment vacancy rates down, rents up in Larimer County

Relatively strong employment in the Fort Collins-Loveland area pushed apartment vacancy rates in the first quarter of the year down to 3 percent — the lowest in the state — and rents up more than 11 percent over last year according to a report released Thursday by the Colorado Division of Housing. The year-over-year rent increase was the largest in the state.

The average rent in Fort Collins-Loveland was just over $1,000 per month, ranging from $762 for an efficiency apartment to $1,166 for a three-bedroom unit. Rents were slightly lower in the northern part of the county — $924 northeast of Fort Collins and $976 in the northwest – and Loveland at $968.

“The statewide decline in vacancies is being driven by high demand for rental housing in the metro Denver area and in the Fort Collins-Loveland area,” said Ron Throupe, a professor of real estate at the University of Denver’s Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management, and the report’s author. “Not surprisingly, we also see some of the most solid rent growth in those same areas.”

The overall apartment vacancy rate throughout Colorado in the first quarter, based on a survey of 22 cities and towns, was 5.2 percent, down from last year’s 5.5 percent and the lowest since first-quarter 2001. Average rents were $914 per month, up 4.6 percent from the $873 reported for first-quarter 2011.

Unemployment in the Fort Collins-Loveland area dropped to 6.7 percent in March 2012, compared to the statewide 7.8 percent.

The complete report can be found on the Division of Housing’s website.

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