BOULDER - Apartment vacancy for the combined Boulder and Broomfield area declined year over year in the fourth quarter of 2013 even as the Denver metro area's rate as a whole increased to a two-year high.

That's according to figures released Monday by the Colorado Division of Housing and the Apartment Association of Metro Denver.

Together, Boulder and Broomfield counties had 3.4 percent vacancy, down from 3.7 percent for the same period a year ago. The fourth-quarter rate, however, was a bit of an increase from the third quarter's 2.8 percent vacancy.

The city of Boulder, excluding the area around the University of Colorado, had a 3.8 percent vacancy rate in the fourth quarter. In the university area, Boulder's rate dropped from 2.0 percent in the third quarter to 0.0 percent in the fourth.

ndreds of new apartments are coming online in Broomfield, but that city's rate was 3.6 percent, up slightly over the third quarter but way down from the 6.2 percent rate it saw for the same period a year ago.

Longmont's rate inched up slightly from 2.7 percent at the end of 2012 to 3.3 percent for the most recent quarter.

The Denver metro area's rate hit 5.2 percent, its highest rate since hitting 5.4 percent for the fourth quarter of 2011.

Denver County's rate stayed flat year over year, while Boulder and Broomfield fell. Every other metro county in the report - Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson - experienced year over year increases in vacancy rates.

"Seasonally, an increase in vacancy is expected for the fourth quarter, but since vacancies are up year over year, that does show that new apartment construction, especially in downtown Denver, is starting to create a few more vacancies," said Ryan McMaken, an economist with the Division of Housing.

Rental rates in the metro area, however, kept rising. And Boulder and Broomfield counties were no exception. The average rent locally climbed to $1,198.13 per month, up from $1,194.19 in the third quarter and $1,103.61 a year ago.