Grand Junction apartment survey: Vacancy rate down, monthly rent up

Apartment vacancy rates have declined in Grand Junction for a third consecutive quarter, although they remain high by long-term standards.

According to the latest results of a survey conducted for the Colorado Division of Housing, the average apartment vacancy rate for Grand Junction fell to 7.9 percent for the third quarter.

Since spiking at 13.2 percent for the fourth quarter of 2009, the vacancy rate has dropped more than five points. The latest rate remains higher, however, than what before the recession was a tight market. At this time last year, the rate stood at 7.5 percent.
A vacancy rate of 5 percent is considered an equilibrium.

According to the latest survey results, the vacancy rate was lowest at 4.8 percent for three-bedroom apartments and highest at 8.9 percent for units with two bedrooms and one bathroom. No vacancies were reported for small apartment buildings with two to eight units, while the vacancy rate was 9.4 percent for the largest buildings with 100 or more units.

As the average apartment vacancy rate decreased in Grand Junction during the third quarter, the average monthly rent increased — more than $21 to $655.58.

Since hitting a high of $680.35 during the first quarter of 2009, average monthly rents in the Grand Junction market have seesawed from quarter to quarter. At this time last year, the average rent was $674.34.

For the third quarter of 2010, average monthly rents ranged from $237.50 for an efficiency apartment to $780.12 for a three-bedroom unit. Average rents were lowest at $537.75 in buildings with two to eight units and highest at $719.82 in buildings with 51 to 99 units.

In Montrose, the vacancy rate rose seven-tenths of a point to 7.3 percent and the average rent rose $17 to $658.58 between the first and third quarters of 2010. In Glenwood Springs, the vacancy rate jumped more than two points to 5.5 percent and the average rent fell $36 to $833.51 between the first and third quarters.

Statewide, the apartment vacancy rate dropped more than a point to 5.5 percent for the third quarter with decreases in every metro area along the Front Range with the exception of Loveland. The average monthly rent statewide rose more than $31 to $871.78 for the third quarter.

Phil Castle is editor of the Grand Valley Business Times, a twice-monthly business journal published in Grand Junction. Castle brings to his duties nearly 30 years of experience in editorial management positions with Western Colorado newspapers. In addition, his free-lance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor's degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University.
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