Curbed: How Denver Managed to Push Rents Down

By building more apartments, the city is seeing a healthier vacancy rate.

There’s a housing trend taking shape in cities across the country: there are too many residents, and not enough apartments. That shortage is making it tough for would-be renters to afford housing. However, Denver seems to have found a simple solution to solve the crisis—build more housing.

According to the Denver Metro Area Apartment Vacancy and Rent Survey, the city’s average apartment rent dropped from $1,371 in the third quarter of 2016 to $1,347 in the fourth. That’s the largest quarterly drop in the 36 years that the study has been conducted. The report also showed that vacancy rates increased from 5.1 percent to 6.2 percent, which is better for affordability.

Denver was able to make those improvements by building more apartments—the city built a record 9,962 apartments over the course of 2016. However, those units aren’t impacting home prices. While apartments are more affordable. In fact, the same survey found the median price of single family homes increased by 8.5 percent to $337,450.

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