Colorado Springs apartment rents soar again, hit another record high

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (The Gazette) - Colorado Springs-area apartment rents soared to another record high during the third quarter - breaking the $1,000-a-month barrier for the first time, a report from the Colorado Division of Housing and Apartment Association of Southern Colorado shows.

The local apartment vacancy rate also fell to a nearly 16-year low in the third quarter, according to the report.

The desire for apartments by millennials and empty nesters, combined with a tight supply, have stoked demand and driven rents to record levels, industry experts have said. Young people like to have the flexibility to move every few years instead of being tied to a mortgage, while empty nesters enjoy maintenance-free living, the experts have said.

A stronger economy, more jobs and a growing population also have helped swell the numbers of renters. And many of those apartment dwellers prefer newer, amenity-filled properties and are willing to pay their pricier rents, which are helping to push up the area's overall average rental costs, said Laura Nelson, the Apartment Association's executive director.

Even as some rents exceed what homebuyers pay on their monthly mortgages, many renters are willing to ante up, she said. Renters don't have to worry about leaky roofs, broken water pipes or mowing a lawn, Nelson said. And while newer properties are expensive, they come with fitness centers, barbecue pits, pools and other extras.

Although several new apartment complexes have been built in recent years, their numbers haven't kept pace with demand. Through the third quarter of this year, 523 units have been added to the overall local supply of apartments, the Housing Division report showed; however, the number of apartments that were occupied increased by 970 during that same time.

Currently, about 1,000 apartments are under construction and another 1,000 are in the planning stages, Nelson said. Their additions should help ease the tight supply, she said. At the same time, more apartments could become vacant when 4,400 Fort Carson soldiers are deployed to Europe in January, Nelson said.
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