PUEBLO, Colo. - Pueblo has one of the highest apartment vacancy rates in the state. According to the Colorado Division of Housing, in the first quarter of 2013, there was a 14.9 percent vacancy rate compared to 5.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012.
Skyview Condominiums sits in northeast Pueblo. It's the area with the highest vacancy rate in the city. When Mickel Robinson and her husband took over the apartment complex two years ago, it was half full. Soon after, they evicted dozens of people who were causing trouble, which led to an increase in vacancies.
"We tried to change the area around a little bit and the reputation that we had over here, so we had to actually clean house a little bit," Robinson said.
The apartment is making a comeback, but the complex is still 50 percent vacant. Robinson said she's offering incentives that include rent discounts to tenants who refer a friend to the apartment.
The average price for an apartment in Pueblo is almost $200 less than in Colorado Springs. It's the reason why Kyle Waddell recently moved from Colorado Springs to Pueblo.
"In a nutshell, I was getting evicted. I couldn't afford it," Waddell said.
Waddell works in Fountain and moved to Pueblo last week. For the past 10 years, he lived in Colorado Springs. "Cost of living is better here. It's cheaper," he said.
Colorado Division of Housing said much of the high vacancy rate is driven by Pueblo's high unemployment rate. Landlords on the northeast side of Pueblo said vacancies also increase in the summer.
"We are close to colleges and a lot of students go home for the summer so I think there's a normal dip in vacancy," Robinson said.
Come August, Robinson said she expects many of the units to be occupied with students.