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Denver Rents Hit New Highs. Here Are The Hot Spots

Denver continues to have the state’s highest residential and multifamily rents, a new analysis shows, with several city neighborhoods climbing multiple percentage points in average rent year over year.

A high-end Whole Foods in Denver.

The new data produced by RENTCafé studied almost 7,000 ZIP codes across the U.S. and crunched the numbers on 17 million apartments. It found that locally, Denver’s Congress Park remains Colorado’s most expensive neighborhood for renters, with an average rent of $2,454 per month for a one-bedroom.

The neighborhoods of Belcar and Washington Park were second-most expensive, clocking in at an average rent of $2,325 per month for a one-bedroom. Overall, Denver average rent for a one-bedroom sits 225th on a nationwide ranking of most expensive areas.

So who is paying for the high-priced digs? Sanziana Bona, a research analyst and author of the  report, told Bisnow the average age of renters plays a big part in the neighborhoods’ ability to charge top dollar.

“First, it's worth mentioning that ZIP code 80206 boasts a large share of millennials. Moreover, the percentage of high-income renters increased here by more than 70% between 2012 and 2017, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau,” Bona said.

“This means that young, high-earning professionals, most of them renters by choice, are eager and able to live in the most elite ZIP codes in Denver … Also, compared to other markets like Manhattan, San Francisco or Los Angeles, rents in high-end neighborhoods in Denver are about two times more affordable.”

Bona added that these millennial renters tend to like posh amenities and luxury finishes, as well as renting in areas that are close to things like waterfronts, landmarks, premium dining and deluxe shopping.

That proximity has likely boosted asking rents in several areas, including in ZIP code 80216, which saw an 8% increase in average rent for a one-bedroom year over year, and 80204, which raised average one-bedroom rents by almost 6% from a year prior.

The saturation of luxury apartments in the city’s top four most expensive ZIP codes for rental is substantial: Luxury units make up more than 65% of the current rental stock in ZIP code 80206 alone, and that depth of representation is followed closely in neighboring areas.

“Covering most of Congress Park and parts of the City Park West and Cherry Creek neighborhoods, ZIP code 80206 is one of the most sought-after areas in Denver,” Bona said. “Renters living here are close to entertainment, shopping and outdoor recreation opportunities, so it's no wonder that some would be willing to pay a premium to enjoy these upscale neighborhood amenities, as well as all the perks that come with the renting lifestyle in a high-end area: fitness centers, clubhouses, private patio, and great views of the Rocky Mountains, Downtown Denver or the Botanical Gardens.”

There is some sign of mild softening, however ⁠— Congress Park saw its rents slide by 1.4% from a year earlier.