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Colo. apt. vacancy rate remains virtually the same as first quarter

The Colorado Apartment Association reported that the current vacancy rate for Colorado rental properties is 6% – virtually the same as the first quarter Denver Metro Area Apartment Vacancy and Rent Survey’s 5.9% published March 11 despite COVID-19.

“It is encouraging to see that Colorado’s rental housing industry remains strong and demand for units is still high,” said Mark Williams, executive vice president of the Colorado Apartment Association. “The low vacancy rate, combined with the high percentage of rent collections, indicates that Colorado residents are using their federal stimulus funds and financial assistance to cover essential needs, such as housing. We are beginning to see a rebound in economic activity, starting with increased leasing activity among our properties, decreased layoffs, and a better-than-expected jobs report by ADP. While we must watch for a second wave of COVID-19, these signs are promising.”

Colorado’s vacancy rates are outperforming the national numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported a 6.6% vacancy rate for the first quarter of 2020. The U.S. Census Bureau will not release the current vacancy results until the end of July. This time last year, Colorado’s vacancy rate was only slightly lower at 5.4%.

“Leasing traffic for our apartment communities has remained steady and even slightly increased, despite our new COVID-19 environment including virtual tours, social distancing and mask-wearing,” said Rebekah Fischer, director of operations at the Cardinal Group. “We were uncertain of how this pandemic would impact our properties but, overall, Colorado residents have continued prioritizing housing, whether looking for a new apartment or renewing their lease at their current community.”

CAA collected data from over 112,000 rental units across Colorado. The reported data comes from over 50 different apartment management companies, ranging in portfolio size from five units to over 20,000 units. The most common vacancy rate reported was 5%, and many smaller management companies are completely full.

“Similar to its higher percentages of rent collections, Colorado is also outperforming the national average with lower vacancy rates, and Q2 likely will be no exception despite the impacts of COVID-19,” reported Williams. “Colorado’s low vacancy rate speaks to the hard work and innovation of rental housing providers to help their residents during this uncertain time.

“Although CAA will not have the Denver Metro Area Q2 vacancy and rent report until July, it is clear that we are on the right path to successfully reemerge from COVID-19 as an industry and as a state. Rental housing providers are continuing to help residents stay in their homes and navigate future impacts of COVID-19.”

CAA also offers various resources for residents struggling with rental payments, most recently partnering with the Resident Relief Foundation to create a financial relief fund to directly help Colorado residents struggling to pay rent because of corona virus-related job or income loss or illness.

Featured in the July 1-14, 2020, issue