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Denver rent increases are devastating renters, making tenants feel trapped

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Rents are skyrocketing at double-digit rates across Metro Denver, not as much as house prices, but tenants feel financially depleted and in a difficult situation to escape easily. ..

Sarawasworth and her fiancé were happy with the apartment in Infinity Low High, northwestern Denver. In addition to the $ 1,900 / month rent, the $ 175 / month for the two parking lots was higher than the $ 1,700 previously paid to live in Capitol Hill. Mr. Wadsworth said the trade-offs are worthwhile to avoid intrusion and keep the dog safe from the heroin needles on the sidewalk.

When it was time to re-sign the lease this spring, that feeling of doing the right thing changed.

“Then the sticker shock comes-they say we’re raising your rent by $ 400 a month,” Wadsworth said. “I was surprised. Two close friends in the same building increased by $ 500. They had a view of the city, but otherwise they were the same unit.”

She tried to get the front office to explain what was happening. The staff understood the financial constraints they were putting in tenants, she said, but the attitude was “Yes, this is terrible for you, but we are waiting for someone else. Others. You can make more money with someone. “

Efforts to exempt someone from a fee like the $ 30 trash can fee per month to get the chute directly across the door to throw away the bag were rejected. The rent in the neighborhood was also rising. I couldn’t find a similar size at a low price, so I decided to leave the pair in my mid-20s at the wedding just two months away. They will be hit financially for another year, but they are not happy with it.

“I really feel like they tried to squeeze everything out of us. A year from now, I don’t think we can justify our stay,” she said. rice field.

Average annual apartment Rent in Metro Denver rose 14.4% 1st quarter remained strong year-on-year Prior to 9.1% profit Overall consumer inflation measured in March, according to a survey by the University of Denver and the Denver Apartment Association. Currently, the average apartment rent is $ 1,765 per month, which is higher in popular areas.

The apartment list sets the annual apartment rent inflation in April in Metro Denver at 15%. Zillow’s rent index, which includes rental housing and apartments, is also tracking a 15% increase.

“Because that increase is the average of individual apartments in the market, there are certainly many units renting at even higher annual price increases,” said Rob Warnock, senior researcher at apartment search engines. ..

Hidden in the average are people who are hit by very large and unexpected hikes that can break budgets, upset life plans and put pressure on spending on many other items. .. The increase in Wadsworth was 21%. Denver technician Adam Novinska faced a 26% increase in his Congress Park area apartments. Rent there soared from $ 1,650 per month to $ 2,077 per month.

He said all property management petitions that he wasn’t one day late for rent, had no noise complaints, and demanded maintenance only when absolutely necessary were deaf. Also, large rent increases were not made in exchange for value-added items. His place is old, average, rarely new, trendy and hip. The only justification he received was that his current rent payment was “not on the market”.

“Every other place I saw was as expensive as a unit of the same size, so I basically had to swallow it. I saved a lot of money and could afford this We continue to work on cutting down where there is, “he said.

Significant rent increases have hit young adults hard, but they also affect bonds that give retirees and others less option to earn or leave additional income. Bethmenzer from Chicago moved to Denver in 1970. This is part of the influx of baby boomers who moved to Colorado in the 1970s and is a “hippie” transplanted as she describes herself.

Her children were born and raised here and then moved to Milwaukee. After her marriage collapsed, she decided to return to 2014 to get closer to her family. But Denver, which she once knew, has changed dramatically. Housing was much more expensive. She put her name on her list of affordable homes and landed her current one-bedroom 550-square-foot apartment in southern Denver for $ 787 per month in 2018.

In February, she learned that rent would increase by $ 70 a month. This isn’t big in a grand plan of things. However, it pushed her rent up to $ 914 per month, consuming about half of her social security and her other retirement income. She also learned that her rent could reach the $ 1,065 limit next year and claimed more than 60% of her monthly income. Even affordable prices are no longer affordable.

Driven by rising living costs, Menzer’s son moved from Metrodenver to Woodland Park, and his daughter moved to Anchorage. Menzer, 71, said it was only a matter of time before her market became so expensive that she couldn’t stay, but she didn’t know where to go.

“I love Colorado, but I’m sad about what happened to Colorado,” she said. “The American dream is gone. Something needs to change.”

RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

Adam Novinska is a software engineer working in his apartment in the Congress Park area of ​​Denver, taken May 9, 2022. He was hit by a rent increase with a lease renewal of over $ 400. Realizing that there were few options, he put up with it after he couldn’t convince the property manager to give him a break.

Why is it going up?

Many causes of inflation in the economy come from supply chain disruptions $ 4.6 trillion in financial support from the federal government into the economy.. Consumers who are unable to spend money on services have shifted more spending to commodities. Manufacturing and supply chain issues have led to a shortage of consumer goods, from toilet paper at the start of the pandemic to modern infant formula. Due to the shortage of chips, the prices of both new and used cars have skyrocketed. And energy costs that have risen again during the pandemic recovery and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are the main drivers.

However, during the pandemic, living in an apartment became unfavorable as young people returned home and remote workers sought more space. If they could avoid it, people wouldn’t have to deal with defective virus diffusion ventilation systems, white knuckle elevator rides, and crowded common areas full of coughing strangers. It took a year for Denver’s Zillow Rent Index to return to March 2020. That calm may have created a false sense of security about the outlook.

Warnock provides some theories as to why rents soared, all returning to the undersupplied housing market. According to the local Case-Shiller index, home prices in Metro Denver are up 24% year-on-year, outpacing rent increases. On top of that, interest rates skyrocket as the Federal Reserve tries to combat inflation.

Between rising mortgage rates and rising home prices, lessors looking to buy a typical home in Denver’s Metro at the end of March will pay 21% higher than at the beginning of the year and 42% higher than March 2021. I faced it.according to Analysis by Zillow.. These costs were high only in April and could be a buyer like Novinska who was desperate to be at his place within 12 months earlier this year.

Another disappointment with the 38-year-old Novinska’s rent increase is that less disposable income is set aside for the down payment of the house.

“You can save less money each month to come up with a down payment for your house. The longer your rent, the more affordable your down payment will be,” he said. “When house prices soar, rents rise, and savings aren’t possible, I’m stuck in a place where I’m likely to pay rent forever.”

Renters who are behind in rent can also keep vacancy rates low and raise prices because they don’t have enough apartments to meet demand.

“It makes some changes among those who may have wanted to go home, but can no longer. He is an associate professor of real estate at the Daniels Business College at the University of Denver and the author of the monthly report. Lonsloop, who is, states: The local apartment market.

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