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Expert says Denver rental prices are climbing at much slower rate

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Posted at 9:16 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 00:42:30-04

DENVER— It’s a sellers’ market when it comes to housing in the Denver metro area, and for buyers that aren't ready to dive into the saturated and overpriced market, experts say now is the time to rent.

A recent report shows closings are up nearly 19% compared to 2020, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. But for buyers on a tight budget who can’t make an offer above the asking price, experts say rental properties may be your best option.

“It’s getting cheaper to rent in comparison to everything else out there,” Andrew Hamrick, the general counsel and vice president of government affairs with the Colorado Apartment Association, said.

The Colorado Apartment Association tracks rental prices and vacancies and the latest numbers show that rent prices have gone up at a much slower rate, according to Hamrick.

“There has been about a 2.2% increase most of which felt in the latest quarter of the year, but that is far below the inflation rate and far below the increase in buying a house,” Hamrick said.

The average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Denver is $1,724 per month, according to Apartment List and only two percent of apartments cost less than $1,000.

Over the last seven months, Erza Tinker has spent countless hours searching for an apartment in Denver. She says she’s increased her budget to $800 because it seems to be the lowest available listing she can find online.

“I was homeless for four months in life and I really, really want to try to avoid that again,” Tinker said.

But she admits, she’s reaching her breaking point and said it's time for people to stop acting like the average rent in Denver is affordable. She wants to see more low-income housing.

Tinker scrolled through apartment listings and pointed out that most exceed her budget, require a deposit, and don’t include utilities.

Hamrick said the key to making housing more affordable is building more units to meet the demand as more people move to Denver. There is currently a shortage of more than 50,000 units a year, he said.

“We haven’t been doing a very good job at the local government level of allowing people to build enough housing for all of the folks who are moving here,” Hamrick said.

Now may be the best time to rent, but Hamrick believes eventually rent will catch up to the cost of real estate.