DENVER-The Denver-area apartment market “went from the darling of the national capital markets to a dog with fleas,” all in the past 18 months, according to a forecast by Apartment Realty Advisors.

The report notes that the market was never as good as people thought it was, and not as bad as it is rumored to be today.

Yet, 2003 will not be kind to the apartment market, notes the company, which is owned by Jeff Hawks and Doug Andrews. But after delivering another 7,600 units this year, “the picture improves dramatically going forward,” according to the report.

It notes that permit activity last year fell 55% and will drop even more this year.

Development expenses remain expensive in the metro area, and costs keep rising. For example, Aurora raised its water tap fees by more than 50%.

“New development will become increasingly difficult to finance, even as the economy improves,” the report notes. “The combination of a virtual halt to new construction and strong demand as the economy picks up steam will result in a rapid turn around. The Denver apartment market will begin to recover in 2004 and will improve faster than most people realize.”

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