Apartment developers see dollar signs in Denver

City's 'cool' factor drives inmigration, job growth

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 9, 2012

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"The Colorado economy and Denver metro area lagged the recession both going in and coming out, but by the beginning of the third quarter of 2011, we had passed the national average in job growth and we are projecting to be in the top 10 of growth states for 2012," he said.

Last year, about 25,000 jobs were added in Colorado, and most of those were in metro Denver, Williams said. "Mix a little bit of job growth, a little bit of positive economic news and a limited amount of supply, and you end up with a healthy apartment market."

Was Colorado -- and Denver, specifically -- hit hard by the recession?

"When other parts of the country began losing jobs in 2008, we actually grew," Williams said. "Then 2009 was brutal. The state continued to lose jobs in 2010. At the abyss, we had an unemployment rate over 9 percent."

The Denver housing market suffered during the Great Recession, although not as bad as other places in the nation.

"If you look at the market from peak to trough, housing was down in the 10 percent range," Wobbekind said. "That was substantially better than most parts of the country. Denver has held up better because it didn't have that great appreciation homeowners experienced in places like Arizona up until 2006."

So, where is Cowan doing all his land deals?

At first it was a downtown boom, as that was the place where people wanted to live and rents were strongest.

"There was a gold rush for land sites in and around downtown," Cowan said. "That's changing. Developers are now starting to look at the next ring out, which will be for the three-story, garden-style apartment product. We have several sites that groups are working on for that type of product, but there's a nine- to 12-month period before they get the land and start digging up the ground."

Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer in Arizona and author of several books. His latest book, "Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis," is now available for sale on Amazon.com.

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