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DENVER-As expected, apartment construction industry in the metro area continues its slide. A report by the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Denver, shows that through May, there were 2,359 apartment permits issued from Boulder to Elbert counties, a 31% drop from the 3,426 permits issued during the same period last year.

The May figures are the most recent by the local HBA. The 2000 figures were inflated by developers who were concerned that voters would pass Amendment 24 last year, which would have dramatically curtailed growth in the state, says Steve Rahe, an apartment broker with CB Richard Ellis. Instead, voters overwhelmingly rejected it.

”These numbers are consistent with what we expected,” Rahe says. ”It’s also consistent with our expectations that activity will continue to fall off through 2002. I think in 2003, we will be talking about the shortage of apartment units.”

Despite the overall drop, some areas, on the strength of a few big projects, showed a marked increase in permits so far this year. For example, Denver boasts 667 apartment permits in the first five months of the year, compared with zero during the same period in 2000. And Longmont, north of Denver, had 560 permits, vs. 48 in 2000.

Activity for condos, townhomes and duplexes also were strong. Permits for what the HBA describes as ”two family units” rose 61% to 2,127 units from 1,322. In Denver, for instance, there were 826 units in that classification compared with 51 during the same period last year. Experts say a lot of the increase stems from high-rise construction in the Golden Triangle, Central Platte Valley and other neighborhoods near Denver’s Central Business District.

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