When it comes to how much space an apartment dweller can get for $1,500 a month, Aurora is the place to go in metro Denver, with Wheat Ridge not too far behind, according to a study from RentCafe.
That amount of rent provides 792 square feet worth of living space on average in Aurora and 782 square feet in Wheat Ridge, compared to 681 square feet in Denver, the survey found.
“Not only is Aurora the best city in the Mile High metro to rent an apartment on this budget, but it’s also the only urban area to match its suburban counterparts in terms of apartment space,” said Michelle Cretu, a communications specialist with RentCafe in an email.
After Aurora and Wheat Ridge, the most living space at a rent of $1,500 was available in Brighton, Parker, Englewood, Castle Rock, Thornton, Greenwood Village, Arvada and Lakewood.
Although Denver apartments provided 111 square feet less space than those in Aurora, the apartment stock is younger than that found in surrounding cities, even though Denver has been around a lot longer. Half of the apartment buildings in Denver were constructed after 1995, while in Aurora that halfway point is 1990 and in Lakewood in 1991. Boulder has some of the oldest stock, with half the multi-family buildings coming after 1987.
Denver was among a handful of large cities where a $1,500 a month rent didn’t provide more than 700 square feet of living space, the study found. Most of the “cramped” markets were in California and in the bigger East Coast cities.
New York’s Manhattan borough, with average apartment rents of $4,269 a month, is the least affordable apartment market, according to RentCafe. Wichita is the most affordable, with an average rent of $746 a month. For $1,500 a month, a renter could get 1,597 square feet.
Denver has an average apartment rent of $1,860 and an average apartment size of 845 square feet.
The pandemic caused a flight out of denser urban neighborhoods, and that contributed to Denver County breaking a 15-year streak of population gains when it lost 6,167 residents between mid-2020 and mid-2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
But that situation appears to be reversing as young adults, Gen Zers, appear once again willing to trade less space for being in the center of the action. RentCafe found that apartment applications in Denver by that generation are up 29% year-over-year and Boulder has the second-highest share of those young renters of any city in the U.S.