Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Colorado Springs average rent grows by all-time high of 10.2 percent

During the second quarter of 2016, rent growt hin Colorado springs hit an all-time high of 10.2 percent, bringing the average rent in the metro area to 991 dollars, which is also an all-time high. That's up from the first quarter  of this year when the average rent was 959. The average rent during the second quarter of last year was 899 dollars.

According to data released by the Colorado Division of Housing, the average rent in Colorado Springs continues to grow at a historically high rates:

The last time the average rent grew at a similar rate was during the dot-com boom at the very end of the 1990s. If we look at the average rent over, time, we find that the general trend has, not surprisingly been upward, but has increased more rapidly over the past five years than was the case during the previous decade:

Looking just at nominal rent levels, however, can be misleading, and if we adjust for inflation using the nationwide CPI, we find that rents actually went down in real terms from 2003 to 2009. While there was some growth from 2009 to 2013, we see that even in inflation-adjusted terms that rent growth has picked up since 2014. Real rents only surpassed the 2001 high in 2014 following a long period of flat rents. Now, however, inflation-adjusted rents have surpassed the old 2001 peak, and have set several new all-time highs in recent quarters:

As one might expect, this year's robust rent growth reflects low vacancy rates. While not setting any records, the vacancy rates for Colorado Springs over the past year have been generally rather low, with the vacancy rate even dipping below five percent twice over the past two years. (A vacancy rate below five percent is generally regarded as "low".) In any case, recent vacancy rates are among the lowest we've seen since the dot-com boom days, and certainly among the lowest we've seen over the past decade.

Finally, we should note that vacancy rates and rents can be significantly affected by seasonal issues, with the fourth quarter often showing the softest markets each year, with the third quarter often showing the strongest markets. 

So, it can be helpful to compare vacancy rates to the same quarters in previous years. In the final graph, we see the second quarter of this year compared to previous years. 2016's second quarter vacancy rate was higher than the previous year, but nevertheless remains near a ten-year low. 

With some of the highest foreclosure rates among metro counties in Colorado, and with a fairly sedate job market compared to Denver and northern Colorado, Colorado Springs has been more slow to experience strong price growth in housing. However, over the past two years, it has become clear that Colorado Springs is now seeing unusually high growth in rents and housing demand. Future rents will depend partially on new housing construction, and we'll look at that in a future post.