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Colorado Floods Put Strain On Available Rental Housing

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September’s floods have increased the pressure on an already-tight rental housing market along Colorado’s Front Range. Even before the disaster forced many displaced home owners to seek rental housing, apartments were scarce and rents have been rising for several years.

Vacancy rates are especially low in Boulder, Larimer and Weld Counties – with vacancies sometimes below three percent.

Economist Ryan McMaken with the state Division of Housing says even that number can be deceptive – and the actual rate of available properties is closer to zero.

"Anywhere below three percent, you’re looking at -- well, on that day when we surveyed that property, they just happened to have some turnover that day," McMaken told Colorado Public Radio. "But in reality those units are all filled most of the time."

Meanwhile the number of foreclosures in the state is down 46.1 percent in the first nine months of 2013, compared to the same time last year.

"This foreclosure cycle has largely wound down," McMaken said in a statement. "We’re looking at a nine- or ten-year low in foreclosure totals for the year."

McMaken says foreclosures are down in nearly all Colorado counties, and are now consistent with normal, pre-recession levels.

As host of KUNC's Colorado Edition, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. And because life is best when it's a balance of work and play, I love finding stories that highlight culture, music, the outdoors, and anything that makes Colorado such a great place to live.
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