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Denver Rent Rising Again After Year-Long Plunge

Civic Lofts, at 360 West 13th Avenue, is currently offering studio apartments for $1,195 to $1,545, one-bedrooms for $1,650 to $1,838 and two-bedrooms for $2,195 to $2,630.
Civic Lofts, at 360 West 13th Avenue, is currently offering studio apartments for $1,195 to $1,545, one-bedrooms for $1,650 to $1,838 and two-bedrooms for $2,195 to $2,630. Google Maps
It was fun while it lasted. In early February,  we shared results of a study showing that rent prices in Denver were down substantially, even as such costs edged up in suburban areas.

That downward trend appears to be over in the Mile High City, at least for now — and rents are still climbing in the suburbs.

The March 2021 Rent Report from Apartment List reveals that in February, the most recent period for which data is available, the average rent in Denver increased 0.9 percent over the previous month. Even so, rent in the city is still down by 5.1 percent year over year, putting its trend line well below that of Colorado and the country as a whole over the past twelve months.

This graphic shows what's been happening to Denver rent since February 2020, just prior to restrictions and shutdowns related to COVID-19.

Compared to rent across the country, Denver remains solidly in the middle of the pack — more expensive than other Colorado cities, including Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, and other major metro areas such as Phoenix and Charlotte, but considerably below California-based rent leaders and more.

See the juxtapositions here.

Despite plunging prices in Denver, many Mile High renters have chosen to head to the suburbs during the pandemic. In our November 2020 post on the subject, Rob Warnock, author of Apartment List's "The Suburban Rent Rebound," listed a series of contributing factors, including "the rapid adoption of remote work, increased value of having more space to live and work, and so many people entering the for-sale market."

Such demand has contributed to month-over-month rent increases in five of the nine metro Denver suburbs tracked in the study. Six of the nine have seen rent hikes over the past year, with a seventh remaining stable, even as Denver prices took that 5.1 percent dive.

Here are the updated details:

Rent prices are on the minds of three Democratic legislators in the state: representatives Dominique Jackson and Iman Jodeh, and Senator Julie Gonzales. They're the sponsors of HB21-1121, also known as "Residential Tenancy Procedures," which is scheduled for its first appearance before the Business Affairs & Labor committee at 1:30 p.m. today, March 3.

According to its introduction, HB21-1121 "prohibits residential landlords from increasing rent more than one time in a twelve-month period of tenancy" — a statutory change opposed by the Investment Community of the Rockies, an association of real estate investors. The group argues that "restricting a Housing Provider from being able to increase rent rates more than once within a 12-month period, will strip the Housing Provider of their ability to negotiate amicable terms for all involved. The result will be less flexibility and higher rent increases."

Which could be starting again in Denver.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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