Salt Lake apartment vacancies on the rise

Salt Lake apartment vacancies on the rise

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SALT LAKE CITY - The apartment vacancy rate in Salt Lake County is going up.

According to a new report by the CB Richard Ellis Group, the vacancy rate in Salt Lake County was 7.7 percent in the second quarter of this year. That's up from 4.3 percent compared to the same quarter one year ago.

"The rising vacancy rate in Salt Lake County coincides with a boom in multi-family construction," said Seth Rossow, multi-family investment specialist at CB Richard Ellis. "This year approximately 5,500 new multi-family/condo units are either completed, currently under construction or 60 days from breaking ground."

Of the approximately 5,500 permits expected in 2009, nearly 5,000 represent rental apartment units. This is a staggering number compared to the historic average of roughly 600 new rental units supplied each year over the past 10 years.

"We have reached a point in the market where landlords are lowering their rents," Rossow said. "In addition to falling rental rates, nearly half of the apartment communities surveyed reported offering some type of concession, like free first-month rent or free microwaves."

Rossow added that renters are seeking affordability and are willing to move to sacrifice amenities for a lower rent.

In communities with more than 100 units, the average apartment rental rate in Salt Lake County was $798 in the second quarter, down 2.8 percent from $821 compared to the same quarter a year ago.

The most expensive rents were found in Salt Lake County's northeast side at an average rate of $900. That's down 9.8 percent compared to a year ago. The cheapest rents were found in the county's northwest side at $696, which is 0.9 lower than a year ago.

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