Affordable housing vacancy drops to 1%

This bicyclist finds the going tough on 12th Street this morning as a major snow storm dumped eight or more inches in the Valley.

Keith Walters of Grand Junction adjusts his snowshoes prior to a weekend hunt for the perfect Christmas tree. Walter might not have needed the snowshoes Saturday but this week’s forecast is calling for a foot or more of new snow on Grand Mesa.


Affordable vacancies

Affordable housing vacancy rates in Colorado, where the state average is 6.7 percent, as of Sept. 10, 2009:

1. Grand Junction, 1 percent

2. Boulder/Broomfield, 2.5 percent

3. Pueblo, 4 percent

4. Denver, 4.3 percent

5. (tie) Loveland, 4.6 percent

5. (tie) Douglas County, 4.6 percent

7. Greeley, 4.9 percent

8. Arapahoe County, 7 percent

9. Adams County, 7.6 percent

10. Fort Collins, 8.4 percent

11. Colorado Springs, 8.9 percent

12. Jefferson County, 11 percent

Source: Colorado Division of Housing

Grand Junction’s vacancy rate has risen, but those vacancies aren’t showing up in the form of affordable housing. That was evident in the most recent state numbers, as the city recorded the lowest affordable-housing vacancy rate among the 12 most populated parts of Colorado.

Ninety-nine percent of affordable apartments in Grand Junction were full on Sept. 10, the day third-quarter vacancy rates were recorded across the state by the Colorado Division of Housing. Grand Junction’s affordable housing vacancy rate was 2 percent in the third quarter of 2008.

Affordable housing is any deed-restricted apartment that is rented to a family making less than the area median income, which is $57,200 a year in Grand Junction, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

In the same month that affordable housing fell to 1 percent, Grand Junction had an 8.5 percent vacancy rate overall, up from 4 percent a year earlier.

The Grand Junction Housing Authority’s waiting list for affordable housing is 2,400 names long.

No one has come off the list since October 2008, according to Lori Rosendahl, the housing authority’s director of operations.

The authority cannot afford any more vouchers because rents haven’t come down enough to meet increasing demand.

Rosendahl said in a mid- December interview she hopes to offer a few more vouchers next year, but she doesn’t expect many low-income people to move or give up their affordable housing vouchers in 2010.

The average monthly rent for affordable housing in Grand Junction during the third quarter was $663.63, just $10.68 less than the average rent for all apartments in the city. Affordable housing rent increased $70.30 between the third quarters of 2008 and 2009 in Grand Junction.

In Grand Junction, the average rent for an affordable one-bedroom apartment was $518.54 in the third quarter, $665.84 for two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments, and $775.81 for three-bedroom rentals.

Grand Junction had the sixth lowest affordable rent in Colorado in the third quarter, behind Pueblo at $526.25, Greeley at $531.40, Fort Collins at $568.90, Loveland at $608.36 and Adams County at $649.10.

The average monthly affordable housing rent in the other six areas measured in the survey cost:

$693.07 in Arapahoe County,

$700.43 in Douglas County,

$715.43 in Jefferson County,

$731.14 in Colorado Springs,

$744.65 in Denver and

$805.62 in Boulder-Broomfield areas.

Loveland had the largest decrease in affordable housing from the third quarter of 2008 to the third quarter of 2009, going from 13.5 percent to 4.6 percent. Adams County had the greatest increase, going from 3.6 percent to 7.6 percent.

The most available affordable housing in the third quarter in Grand Junction was three-bedroom apartments, with 1.7 percent vacancy.

No one-bedroom apartments were available, and 1 percent of two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments were available for rent.


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