Friday, May 22, 2009

The Fort Collins Coloradoan on the the latest vacancy rates

Fort Collins apartment vacancies decrease
BY HALLIE WOODS • May 22, 2009

Fort Collins was one of four areas across the state to see decreasing multifamily vacancy rates at the beginning of 2009, a new report says.

The city's apartment vacancy rate fell to 4 percent in the first quarter of 2009 from 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2008, according to a report released Thursday by the Colorado Division of Housing.

Loveland, however, saw an increase of vacancy rates to 6.1 percent from 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2008 in the first quarter of 2009, according to the report.

Experts attribute Fort Collins' decreasing vacancy rates to a tightening up of the home mortgage market and a robust economy due to the university and a growing number of renewable energy startups.

"The whole Northern Colorado region still has some stable job opportunities: renewable energy, health care. And, if you are going to live in Northern Colorado, what better place to live than in Fort Collins?" said Terrance Hunt, principal at Apartment Realty Advisors in Denver. Hunt specializes in the Northern Colorado market.

Homeowners falling into foreclosure are typically not turning to multifamily rental housing, such as apartments, but are turning to single-family home rentals, said Ryan McMaken, spokesman for CDH.

Families who might have looked to purchase a home during the housing market boom, however, are either searching for or staying put in multifamily rental housing.

"In 2003, the rhetoric is why are you throwing your money on rent? That is no longer the dominant way of thinking," McMaken said. "People need very good if not excellent credit on a home. For these reasons, people are staying in rental housing longer."

In Fort Collins, the largest drop in multifamily rental housing vacancies occurred on the northwest side of town, where the rate dropped from 7.1 percent in the first quarter of 2008 to 3.8 in the first quarter of 2009.

Candace Capitelli, property manager of Stone Creek Apartment Homes, 1225 W. Prospect Road, said her 167-unit apartment complex has been easy to fill.