Grand Junction apartment vacancy rate retreats

Cindy Hoppe

Phil Castle, The Business Times

The apartment vacancy rate has dropped in Grand Junction, but remains higher than in many other metropolitan areas of Colorado, according to the latest results of a quarterly survey of rental markets across the state.

The average monthly rent also dropped during the third quarter in Grand Junction, although the median rent increased.

Cindy Hoppe, manager of Bray Property Management in Grand Junction, called the results of the survey conducted for the Colorado Division of Housing “fairly realistic.”

Although there’s usually little movement in the rental market during winter, Hoppe said she expects activity to increase in the spring even as economic conditions slowly improve. “We’re getting some confidence back in the economy.”

In fact, construction is expected to soon begin on a new apartment complex on Orchard Mesa. Several other projects are planned, Hoppe said. That’s an indication of increased demand for rental housing, she added.

According to the third quarter survey, the average apartment vacancy rate for Grand Junction retreated to 7.8 percent. That’s almost three points lower than the second quarter and four points lower than the first quarter. The rate was lower by about half at 3.8 percent during the third quarter of 2012, however. A vacancy rate of 5 percent is considered an equilibrium between supply and demand.

Average vacancy rates for the third quarter in Grand Junction ranged from 2.8 percent for efficiency apartments to 23.5 percent for two-bedroom,two-bathroom units.

The average monthly apartment rent for Grand Junction fell to $577.51, down $13.16 from the second quarter of 2013 and $61.48 from the third quarter of 2012.

The median monthly rent increased for the third quarter of 2013, however, to $597.11. That’s up $7.60 from the second quarter of 2013 and $1.80 from the third quarter of 2012.

While some landlords have offered incentives to attract renters, rental rates have remained generally steady, Hoppe said.

Elsewhere on the Western Slope, average apartment vacancy rates ranged from just1.5 percent in Montrose to 17.1 percent in Steamboat Springs.

Across Colorado, vacancy rates ranged from an 18-year low of 1.3 percent in Greeley to 5.4 percent in Colorado Springs to 9.3 percent in Pueblo.