Colorado's apartment vacancy rate declined to 5.2% in the second quarter as more individuals pick renting over buying, the Colorado Division of Housing said Tuesday. In 2001, the apartment vacancy rate hit 4.3%, but has remained higher than 5.2% since. While the state's apartment vacancy rate fell, rents rose in the second quarter, jumping 2% with the average renter spending $877 per month in Colorado, compared to an average rate of $862 last year. In the Colorado Springs area, the average rent rose nearly 6% from a year earlier. Rents increased 5.1% in Greeley and 0.8% in Fort Collins. The largest increase occurred in the Loveland area, where the average rent increased 11.7% from the second quarter of 2010. When looking at vacancy rates, the largest drop in the second quarter occurred in Grand Junction where the vacancy rate dropped to 6.3% from 8.9% a year ago. "Although there were some small increases in the vacancy rate in some areas, the larger trend in the state is clearly toward fewer vacancies since 2009,” said Ryan McMaken, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Housing. "The Denver area and northern Colorado have some of the tightest markets right now, and not surprisingly, in those areas we're also seeing some of the most sustained growth in rents in recent quarters." Falling apartment vacancy rates in Colorado are in line with a consumer survey that Fannie Mae published for July in which 70% of respondents had a negative outlook on the economy. And the number of Americans who said they would buy their next home fell five percentage points, while the number expecting to rent rose three points. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.