Average apartment vacancy rates statewide dropped to 5.2 percent in the fourth quarter, the 13th consecutive quarter they’ve dropped on a year-over-year basis, according to a report released Wednesday by the Colorado Division of Housing.
The Colorado Vacancy and Rent Survey report didn’t include average rents or vacancy rates for metro Denver apartments, which were included in a separate report in January.
Apartments were more scarce in the Fort Collins-Loveland area, where the rate dropped again to 2.4 percent in Q4 2012 – a 1 percent drop from an already tight market in Q4 2011. Vacancy rates in western and southern areas of the state, meanwhile, increased. In Colorado Springs, it rose to 7.1 percent in the fourth quarter, up less than 1 percent from Q4 2011. In the same time period, Pueblo’s vacancy rate jumped from 7.3 percent to 10.7 percent and Grand Junction’s rose from 7 percent to 9.7, the report shows.
Anything below 5 percent vacancy rate is considered a tight market.
Average rents, meanwhile, “increased in all metros from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012,” the report states. The overall state average rose 4.7 percent year over year to $943 in the fourth quarter. The biggest average rent hikes were in Pueblo, where average rents stood at $612 — 14.2 percent more than a year earlier.
“Differences in the employment situation in different metros help explain these very different trends across the state,” Ryan McMaken, an economist with the Colorado Division of Housing, said in a news release. “Those places with declining unemployment are seeing fewer vacancies. Interestingly, however, rents continued to rise across the board as owners tried to cover increases in their operating costs.”
Here’s a breakdown of the Q4 vacancy rates and average rents for each area included in the study:
• Fort Collins-Loveland: 2.4 percent; $1,008.
• Colorado Springs: 7.1 percent; $790.
• Grand Junction: 9.7 percent; $659.
• Greeley: 3.2 percent; $692.
• Pueblo: 10.7 percent; $612.
• Denver (included in an earlier report): 4.9 percent; $978.
There is no greater deterrent to crime than neighbors who’ve joined together as a community to look out for each other’s homes. That’s why neighborhood watch groups are so effective at telling criminals to “stay out.” See how getting involved in such a group in the neighborhood of your rental property could be a great investment.
Law enforcement officials around the country report that neighborhood watch groups are extremely powerful in the fight against crime. As many municipalities cut law enforcement budgets, neighbors become increasingly instrumental in alerting the police to suspicious activity, unknown vehicles, and out-of-place people who may have ill intent in the neighborhood.
Improving housing values
Strengthening the community in a neighborhood leads to all kinds of improvements. In addition to lowering the crime rate, neighbors may be more interested in keeping up their properties if they are known to those who live around them, a kind of accountability that can translate into better yard care and house maintenance. The atmosphere of the neighborhood changes, too: more people want to talk to each other and be social together. All of these elements create a more desirable place to live—one where your residents will want to stay and new renters will be attracted.
Joining the community
A landlord who takes an active interest in his property’s neighborhood will be appreciated. Encouraging your residents to be actively involved in the local neighborhood watch group will be an important part of keeping your property safe. Give your residents information about groups already in existence.
You can make the difference
If your property’s neighborhood doesn’t currently have a neighborhood watch program, why not start one yourself? You might use a neighborhood networking site like nextdoor.com. A great complement to a neighborhood watch group, nextdoor.com is a social media platform for your neighborhood community, allowing members to post profile photos and share and respond to information quickly and easily.
Though there are a lot of duties to take care of as a landlord, getting involved in the communities around your rental properties is worth the time and effort. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing that your property is being looked after by the people closest to it?
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23554 Waynes Way., Golden, CO 80401
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2575 S. Syracuse Way – E-202 – J-202, Denver, CO 80231
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Executive Home Rentals