Grand Junction vacancies dip, but still are far from past lows

Grand Junction’s vacancy rate continues to drop, but it remains a long way from the microscopic vacancy levels of previous years.

In the second quarter of this year, 8.9 percent of rental properties in the city were without tenants, according to a report released Thursday by the Colorado Division of Housing.

A year earlier, the local vacancy rate was 4.5 percent, and a year before that it was 1.6 percent.

A vacancy rate of 5 percent is considered normal.

Vacancy rates usually trend with unemployment rates, according to Colorado Division of Housing spokesman Ryan McMaken. Since Grand Junction’s unemployment rate has hovered above 8 percent for months, McMaken believes Grand Junction’s 2.7-percentage-point drop in vacancy in the second quarter compared to the first quarter reflects people that may not have jobs moving back to town or moving out of a parent’s home to live with roommates.

“In spite of a weak job market, there are more renters. They need to live somewhere, so they’re renting,” McMaken said.

Cindy Hoppe, a property manager with Bray Property Management, 637 North Ave., said that theory jibes with what she’s seen.

After signing 34 leases in January and 30 leases in February, Bray had 39 lease clients in June and 42 in July. More and more leaseholders are signing on with roommates to save cash, she said.

“I think people are being conservative,” Hoppe said. “Everybody’s all about the dollar now.”

Of the 81 lease agreements with Bray signed in June and July, 35 were with people moving to Grand Junction. Hoppe said there’s not a clear trend yet showing one industry bringing in renters.

The median and average rent prices in Grand Junction decreased from the first quarter to the second quarter.

The average monthly rental rate went from $663.47 in the first quarter to $634.48, while the median rate decreased from $678.81 to $647.95. Both rates increased by about $6 year-over-year.


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