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Apartment rents in Denver metro nearly 17% higher than last year, but winter is coming

Apartments in Denver
Posted at 6:53 PM, Oct 04, 2021

DENVER — Apartment rents in the Denver metro have reached highs some experts in the industry have never seen, but relief may soon be on the way as we approach the winter months.

According to ApartmentList.com, rents in Denver were up by 16.5% in September compared to the same time last year. That pace has been consistent across the state.

"We had the smallest rents that I've seen in Denver in the last eight years that I've been here, and this year is the complete opposite. Now, we have the highest rates that I've seen," Denver Apartment Finders founder and owner Brian J. Sanchez said.

A one-bedroom apartment with an in-unit washer and dryer could cost you about $1,700 in the suburbs. And if you look closer to Downtown Denver, you'll find some for $2,000 a month, he says.

This is what happens when a city like Denver becomes attractive.

"You have to remember that Denver is no longer the cow town of the past. It's now on the map, and that attracts people," Dr. Ron Throupe, associate professor of real estate at the University of Denver, said.

He is part of a team that helps keep track of the rental market in the Denver metro. And despite what you may think, he says there is a market for high-priced apartments.

"If they're coming from the West Coast, they go and drop $2,500 [for a one-bedroom] like, 'OK, no big deal.' To them, it’s no big deal. And for those that have grown up here, it's a whole different story," he said.

But relief could be on the way. Both Throupe and Sanchez expect rents to drop a bit as we approach winter.

"Winter is when rates start to stabilize and go back down and availability starts to reset, which we're seeing, which is really great," Sanchez said.

History tells us you're likely to find better rates when there's a chill in the air. That's when property managers compete to get you to move in.

But if you'd like to stay at your current apartment and the renewal rate is higher than you were expecting, Sanchez says your best bet is trying to negotiate the rate.

"Don't accept the first renewal offer as a be-all, end-all. Negotiate for sure," Sanchez said. "Nine times out of 10 it works. You may not get the desired price you want of zero increases, but at least you might be able to get a half an increase."