GOING UP: Aurora rent hikes outpace most of the nation, with average rates above those in Denver

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AURORA | Keep pinching those pennies‭, ‬folks‭. ‬

Aurora rents rose for the sixth consecutive month in June‭, ‬earning the city a leading spot on the list of large cities with the‭ ‬quickest rent increases in the country in the past year‭, ‬according to new data released by San Francisco-based real estate firm‭ ‬Apartment List‭.‬

As of last month‭, ‬rents in Aurora were up 2.6‭ ‬percent over the same time in 2018‭, ‬eclipsing the national growth rate by one percentage point‭, ‬according to Apartment List‭. ‬Those increases placed Aurora ninth on Apartment List’s tally of large cities‭ ‬—‭ ‬defined as burgs with populations of more than 250,000‭ ‬people‭ ‬—‭ ‬with the largest rent increases in the past year‭. ‬Henderson‭, ‬Nevada saw the largest rent increases between June 2018‭ ‬and June 2019‭ ‬with a bump of more than 5‭ ‬percent‭.‬

Aurora rents rose for the sixth consecutive month in June‭, ‬earning the city a leading spot on the list of large cities with the‭ ‬quickest rent increases in the country in the past year‭, ‬according to new data released by real estate firm‭ ‬Apartment List‭. Sentinel Colorado file photo

The current median price to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Aurora is‭ $‬1,260‭, ‬which is‭ $‬180‭ ‬more than the current median cost of‭ ‬renting a similar flat in Denver‭, ‬according to Apartment List‭. ‬Aurorans renting two-bedroom apartments are paying about‭ $‬1,590‭.‬‭ ‬In Denver‭, ‬renters are paying a median price of‭ $‬1,360‭ ‬for a two-bedroom pad‭.‬

‭”‬Renters will generally find more expensive prices in Aurora than most large cities‭,‬”‭ ‬analysts wrote in Apartment List’s July report‭. “‬For example‭, ‬Phoenix has a median two-bedroom rent of‭ $‬1,080‭, ‬where Aurora is nearly one-and-a-half times that price‭.”‬

Within the metro area‭, ‬Aurora remains a bastion for affordable housing‭, ‬but mostly gone are the days of sub‭-$‬1,000‭ ‬per month rates‭, ‬according to Apartment List data‭.‬

Only 13‭ ‬percent of the city’s housing stock rents for less than‭ $‬1,000‭, ‬according to RentCafé‭, ‬another apartment search and data site based in Santa Barbara‭, ‬California‭. ‬The majority of Aurora renters are paying between‭ $‬1,000‭ ‬and‭ $‬1,500‭ ‬for housing each month‭, ‬according to RentCafé’s June data‭. ‬The average rent in the city‭ ‬—‭ ‬which is different than the median‭ ‬—‭ ‬was‭ $‬1,324‭ ‬last month‭.‬

Only Arvada‭, ‬Denver and Wheat Ridge boasted cheaper one-bedroom rents among large metroplex municipalities‭, ‬according to Apartment List‭. ‬Englewood‭, ‬Littleton‭, ‬Castle Rock and Westminster are all more expensive than Aurora‭. ‬Thornton claimed the title of most expensive burg among Front Range cities with the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment clocking in at‭ $‬1,530‭. ‬The median two‭-‬bedroom rate in that city is just shy of‭ $‬2,000‭.‬

‭”‬Across the country‭, ‬we’ve been seeing very strong rent growth in suburbs that are near city-centers‭,‬”‭ ‬Igor Popov‭, ‬chief economist for Apartment List‭, ‬wrote in an email‭. “‬As Denver continues to transform and draw more high-end development and high-earning newcomers‭, ‬many families are choosing to find a bit more space and affordability in Aurora‭. ‬This new demand drives solid rent growth‭.”‬

A confluence of other factors have also contributed to rising rents in Aurora and across the region‭, ‬including shoddy construction defects reforms and rising construction costs‭, ‬according to former Aurora City Council Member and longtime Aurora Housing Authority Commissioner Barb Cleland‭.‬

“We’re trying to do the best we can to build as much as we can‭, ‬but it’s tough‭,‬”‭ ‬Cleland said of the Housing Authority‭. ‬“Across the metro area trying to find affordable rentals is difficult‭ … ‬and there’s a lot of reasons I think why this has happened‭.‬”

The city’s public housing agency provides various forms of discounted housing to qualifying residents using a bevy of federal vouchers‭. ‬

One of the agency’s newest additions‭, ‬Peoria Crossing‭, ‬is currently pre-leasing units to people who make different amounts of money under the city’s median income‭. ‬The current limit for an Arapahoe County family of four making half of the area’s median income is‭ $‬46,400‭, ‬according to the local housing authority‭.‬

The first phase of the‭ $‬24-million Peoria Crossing development at Peoria Street and East 30th Avenue is expected to wrap this fall‭.‬

Despite the new addition to the city’s housing stock‭, ‬Cleland said the local housing authority will likely continue to struggle to keep up with demand‭. ‬She said until rising costs and tariffs are addressed‭, ‬the atmosphere for Aurora renters could only become more bleak‭. ‬

“I think until we get a lot of this worked out‭, ‬it may be getting worse‭,‬”‭ ‬she said‭.‬