FORT COLLINS - Average rents in both Fort Collins and the Boulder-Broomfield area skyrocketed in the first quarter of 2014, jumping by 17 percent, according to data released Wednesday by the Colorado Division of Housing.

In Fort Collins, the average rent increased from $1,037 per month in the first quarter of 2013 to $1,216 per month in the same quarter this year. At the same time, the vacancy rate in Fort Collins fell to 1.6 percent, compared with 5.5 percent a year ago.

In the northwest portion of the city, the vacancy rate dropped to 0.2 percent, driving the average rental rate in the area up to $1,407, a comparable price to apartments in downtown Denver.

The southwest part of town had the highest vacancy rate, at 2.9 percent, but average rents there were still $1,155 in the first quarter, according to the Division of Housing. The only part of town where the average rent was below $1,000 was the northeast area, where the average rent was $750 per month in the first quarter.

In Boulder and Broomfield, the vacancy rate increased to 6.7 percent, up from 3.2 percent a year ago, but rents also increased, from $1,072 to $1,262 year-over-year in the first quarter.

In the city of Boulder, excluding the area surrounding CU, the vacancy rate was 22 percent as a result of new units becoming available, according to the division. Excluding those new units, the vacancy rate would have been 7.5 percent.

Most of the tightness in the Boulder market is concentrated around the university, where vacancies are 1.8 percent, and in Longmont, where the rate is 1.3 percent.

Living in Loveland is not much cheaper, with the average rent there holding steady from last year at $1,026 per month, comparable to the $1,042 charged on average there in the first quarter of 2013. The vacancy rate dipped from 2.8 percent to 2.3 percent year-over-year in the first quarter.

Rents in Greeley increased from $704 per month at the beginning of 2013 to $793 per month, in spite of the opening of new apartment complexes that increased the vacancy rate by three percentage points.

Vacancies in Greeley improved from 1.4 percent to 4.4 percent year-over-year as a result of new apartment construction being completed. Without the new units, the vacancy rate would have been 0.7 percent, according to the Division of Housing.