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DENVER-There have only been 1,129 permits issued in the metro area through September, a 57.8% drop from the 2,675 permits issued in the first nine months of 2002, according to the latest report from the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Denver.

Moreover, September 2003 compared with September 2002 shows a similar trend, with 217 apartment permits issued, compared with 461 in the same month of 2002. That’s a 52.93% drop.

In the first nine months, Aurora was the only area to issue more permits this year than last year. Aurora issued 220 permits year to date, compared with 172 during the same period last year.

Of the 34 counties and municipalities tracked by the HBA, only five of them have issued permits for apartments, compared with 10 through September of last year.By contrast, only five communities haven’t issue permits for single-family detached homes this year.

The city, by far, has issued the most permits this year, with 551, but still trailing last year’s tally of 780. Next, is Westminster, along the northwest corridor, with 300 permits this year, compared with 444 last year.The only other city to issue triple digit permits was Aurora.

Boulder issued 26 permits this year compared with 30 last year. Brighton, north of Denver, showed the biggest drop of the five communities issuing permits, with only 32 permits issued, compared with 184 through September last year.

Jeff Hawks, principal of Apartment Realty Advisors, says that he expects permit activity next year to be half of this year’s tally.

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