Denver’s hot rental apartment market could finally be cooling a bit

DENVER -- Denver’s apartment rental market could finally be cooling after years of increasing prices.

A record number of new apartment communities means more vacancies and falling rent prices for consumers.

“It’s definitely booming a lot,” said Raquel Tarantino, a renter in the Capitol Hill area for the past three years.

“I’ve never seen anything like this.  We haven’t been building this many apartments since 1973,” said Cary Bruteig, president of Apartment Appraisers & Consultants and Apartment Insights.

Bruteig said 110 apartment communities are under construction in the metro area and 125 more properties are in planning stages.

“Developers see the strong rents and are rushing to the market to build more apartments because it’s profitable for them right now,” said Bruteig.

More units on the market is a good thing for renters.

“Right now renters are moving into apartments at a very fast pace but we are still building faster than that which is why vacancy rate is already moving up and why rent growth is already slowing,” Bruteig said.

With a vacancy rate of about 5 percent, some buildings like the brand new 7/S Denver Haus in Capitol Hill are offering a free month’s rent and luxury amenities to lure new tenants.

“Concessions are the early warning sign that the market may be softening,” Bruteig said.

Prices in the metro showed a slight decrease this past month but are still up year over year and above the national average.

"We split a studio so it makes it more affordable,” Raquel Tarantino said.

She shares a 500-square-foot studio with her boyfriend for $1,000 a month.

“My boyfriend came from Maine and he was paying I think $500 a month for a bigger studio.  So when I think about that stuff I’m like, whoa, but I like the accessibility of the area,” she said.

Right now, the average one bedroom costs about $1,200 per month. A two bedroom, two bath costs about $1,800 per month.

“We’re probably close to the peak of the rental market right now,” Bruteig said.

The largest concentration of new apartment buildings is in downtown Denver.

That also means the area has the highest number of vacant units which is good news for renters who now have the slight upper hand when shopping around for a place to live.