By Melissa Garcia
DENVER (CBS4)– A record-breaking number of new apartments are being built in the Denver metro area.
Close to 3,300 new units opened in the first few months of 2017.
For perspective, 498 units were built in all of 2010. Currently, that number of new apartments is being delivered in the Denver area every two weeks. That translates to 37 new units every day.
Nearly 12,000 new apartments are expected to open by the end of 2017. Millennials prefer to rent, experts say, for the convenience and flexibility.
Kaitlin Denis and Tobey Wood are looking for a place to rent in Denver prior to their relocation to Colorado next month from Chicago.
“It was a no-brainer to rent,” Wood said. “Just to get our wits about us.”
Dylan Rino, a new apartment building in Denver’s River North neighborhood, was one of five stops for the couple on Thursday as they looked at their options.
“At this one, we looked at a 2-bedroom that was about $2,200 a month,” Denis said. “And I mean, compared to Chicago, that’s about $1,000 less, which is really nice for us.”
With over 1,000 millennials moving to Denver each month, the demand for places to live is on the rise, and so is the price of rent.
A quarterly survey released this week by the Apartment Association of Metro Denver shows 3,246 new units were built January through March of 2017.
It’s the biggest spike since the dot com boom in 2002 and the most built in the first quarter of any year on record.
“The story of the Denver housing market is about unprecedented demand and unprecedented supply,” said Teo Nicolais, an instructor with the Harvard Extension School.
The survey found average rent in the Denver metro area at $1,382, a monthly increase of $35 over the previous quarter.
Nicolais said the actual rent increase is less, however, when considering discounts and concessions that properties offer to renters.
“A typical renter will see their rent go up by just $9 this quarter,” Nicolais said. “This is very good news for renters. The times of double-digit rental growth is something that we don’t expect to continue at this point.”
Over the last five years, he said the percentage of income that Denverites pay for rent has gone up by close to 5 percent.
Experts predict that rent prices will peak sometime this year and then start to go down. That could especially be the case if the Construction Defects Reform bill ends up passing and succeeds in getting more condominiums built.