Floods making it tough on Colorado residents seeking commercial living space

Floods are wrecking homes all over the state of Colorado.

The rain continues to fall in Colorado and more people are finding themselves without a place to call home after violent floods have hit 15 counties in the state.

Roughly 1,500 Colorado homes have been wrecked while an additional 17,500 have been damaged, according to an initial report from the Colorado Office of Emergency Management, as cited by USA Today.

Boulder resident Rudy Harburg told USA Today the biggest problem in his city is flooded basements. Harburg noted people in the area bought more than 700 sump pumps in four hours at the local Home Depot.

"I have not seen as much rain in the 55 years I have lived in Boulder," said Harburg, who owns apartments in Boulder.

Homeowners who watched as their homes were ruined by water might not have many rental choices in the area. The rental market is extremely tight for those in Boulder, Weld and Larimer counties, according to The Denver Post.

"It is going to be a challenge because this is not happening at a time when there is a bunch of rental housing," Ryan McMaken, an economist with the Colorado Division of Housing, told The Denver Post.

McMaken said a 3 percent vacancy rate in apartment buildings signifies a fully rented market, and most of the cities nearby are at or right around that level.

Boulder has a 3.4 percent vacancy rate, Greeley is at 1.4 percent, and Longmont is at 3.6 percent. Fort Collins had the best average at 5.1 percent.

"Prior to the flood … the Greeley- Evans area had one of the lowest vacancy rates in the state," said Tom Teixeira, executive director of the Weld County Housing Authority.

It gets worse
Tom Orlando, the director of relocation for Housing Helpers in Boulder, told The Denver Post that flood victims want exactly the opposite of what the market is currently offering.

Flood victims typically want month-to-month leases, proximity to their damaged homes and an area for their pets. Those desires will be hard to meet in a market with such low vacancy rates.

Colorado commercial properties with space available
Orlando told The Denver Post he will guide flood victims to apartment communities in Westminster, Thornton and Northglenn. Those communities have cheaper rents and landlords have been able to find supply.

"Surprisingly, there have been a lot of apartment communities that had availability come out of nowhere," Orlando said.

Downtown Denver also has a 6.9 percent vacancy rate, but monthly rents are considerably higher.

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