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DENVER-Although the multifamily rental vacancy rate of 6.8% is an 11-year high, developers pulled 32.88% more permits in the first nine months of the year then they did during the comparable period in 2000, shows the most recent report from the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Denver. Through September, developers pulled permits for 7,730 permits.

For the month of October, permit activity soared by a whopping 249.6%. Developers pulled 2,192 permits in October, compared with only 627 in October 2000.

In Parker, Lakewood and Jefferson County, developers, respectively, pulled 492, 525 and 228 permits. By comparison, developers didn’t pull any permits in those areas last October.

Jeff Hawks, a top apartment broker with Grubb & Ellis, tells GlobeSt.com he’s neither surprised nor worried about the activity at a time when vacancies are rising and the economy is softening.

”Most of these projects were in the planning and zoning phase in 1999 and 2000, when the demand was outstripping the supply,” Hawks tells GlobeSt.com ”It takes so long to get entitlements, that what we are now seeing is the start of a process that might have begun two years ago. What we’re seeing now is what has been in the pipeline for quite some time.”

He adds that if a developer pulls 500 permits, that doesn’t mean he will begin construction of all of them at once. He may plan a 300-unit phase and a 200-unit phase.Also, when many of the new apartment communities come on line, the economy could be better than it is today.

At least that’s what developers are hoping.

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