Article by: StorageCafe

Denver a Top-10 Real Estate Developer Over the Last Decade

Denver rocks for real estate construction, and it gets top-10 results for the most development activity over the last decade. Denver’s multifamily housing market has been performing especially well, while its other sectors — single family, office, industrial, retail and self-storage — also out-did many larger cities.

A recent StorageCafe study ranked US cities by their real estate development activity across several sectors between 2013 and 2022. While major Texas hubs and other Sun Belt cities crowd the list, Denver’s ninth position is a big achievement considering it is only the nation’s nineteenth-largest city, but it is also not surprising considering its enormous attraction for new residents.

Denver’s Residential Real Estate Market Had 10 Strong Years

In the study, annual residential construction is measured by the number of permits issued. In Denver during the period analyzed, a total of 18M permits for single family building were recorded, and this sector was most active during the decade’s middle years, 2017 to 2019.

Multifamily construction, however, was Denver real estate’s strongest sector — the eighth-most active nationwide — its best years being 2021 and 2022, with 8,450 and 7,000 permits for building apartments issued, respectively. As a proportion of population, Austin, Texas, was the only other top-10 city issuing more multifamily permits.

Denver’s Commercial Real Estate Growth Is Supplemented by Aurora’s

In the commercial real estate sector over the last 10 years, Denver built 11M square feet of office space — again, as a proportion of population, only surpassed in the top 10 by Austin — and 3.3M square feet of retail space. In terms of industrial space, Denver built 13.5M square feet, a figure just outside the top 20 in this regard.

Neighboring Aurora, however, although only having around half Denver’s residents and hitting 32nd place for overall real estate construction, built no less than 17.7M square feet of industrial space. Perhaps understandably for a city considered ‘suburban,’ it also exceeded the state capital in terms of single-family construction, registering 14,078 permits during the decade.

Self-Storage Was the Nation’s Strongest Sector

The commercial real estate sector that performed best nationwide during the last decade was in fact self-storage — it was a particularly essential service during recent challenging years. Nationwide, its inventory has expanded considerably, by 25% over the past 10 years, compared to just 13% for industrial space and only 8% and 6% for office and retail space, respectively.

With 2.3M square feet of space added between 2013 and 2022, Denver self-storage also saw an active decade. In fact, among the top-10 cities in our list it had above-average storage construction activity per population. A standard storage unit in Denver rents for an average of $126/month, a dollar less than the national average.

While Texas cities were the decade’s real estate development high-flyers, Denver punched above its weight. Confidence in local construction is understandable given that the city’s wide-ranging job market and family-friendly options make it such a magnet these days. And with self-storage being such a fast-growing sector, Denverites both old and new will have added ways to benefit from real estate development.