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.
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.