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Denver's Tight Housing Market Pushes Dwellers Into New Communities

Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction all still offer the lifestyle without the cost


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The real estate market in Denver is seeing its second consecutive quarter of more residents leaving the metro than moving into it.

As captured by a survey released in September, nearly 23 percent of metro homebuyers are looking outside of Denver for a home. Nearly 20 percent of these buyers don’t want to give up the Colorado lifestyle, though.

So where are they headed?

To the more affordable Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and the Western Slope. The median house listing prices reported on Zillow in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Grand Junction are $276,800, $377,600 and $226,000 respectively. Meanwhile, Denver’s median listing price is $414,500.


DRAWING CONCLUSIONS: JOBS – AND RENT – A MILE HIGH


This data isn’t all bad news for Denver. Looking for a home doesn’t always result in buying one. Also, the existing housing inventory has increased to its highest levels in four years. This means homebuyers who want to remain on the Front Range will benefit from more selection and potentially a slowdown in price growth.

Those buyers who want to relocate from the Front Range have very lucrative options, including:

COLORADO SPRINGS

The Springs was No. 6 among the Top 10 cities with the highest percentage of millennials, according to a Brookings Institute report. Colorado Springs also ranked as the second-most desirable place to live in America of the 100 largest metro regions by U.S. News & World Report in 2016, 2017 and 2018. With Colorado consistently ranking in the top five states for economy, employment, education, health care and best state to live, many eyes are focused on Colorado Springs, which is poised to become the state’s largest city by 2050.

Fort Collins

Known to locals as FoCo, Fort Collins has a long-standing presence on the lists of the “Best Places to Live.” As home to Colorado State University, Fort Collins is also a millennial's dream. Located by the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and right on the Cache La Poudre River, the city has an extremely low unemployment rate of 2.5 percent, so jobs are plentiful. It's a young city with a median age of 29.5. Millennials are drawn to Fort Collins for its scenic beauty, the amenities of any great college town – like the 20 area brew houses – along with relatively affordable homes. This may change in the near future should home prices outpace the Denver market as demand increases.

GRAND JUNCTION

Colorado’s wine country may be the top choice for baby boomers looking to retire. Grand Junction is the largest community between Denver and Salt Lake City and has the largest concentration of wineries in the state. Growers and residents alike enjoy the semi-arid climate and mild winters.

The cost of living for retirees in the Grand Valley is around 4.4 percent below the national average and around 16 percent of the city’s population is 65 years old or older, according to Kiplinger’s Great Places to Retire in Every State. Colorado is also very tax-friendly for retirees. Residents age 55 or older enjoy no inheritance or estate tax and get a generous retirement-income exclusion from state taxes. Other tax breaks for retirees include homestead exemption for people 65 and older.

While Denver has historically drawn the most attention and residents to the Front Range, the entire state of Colorado has a lot going for it. Colorado ranks as No. 1 for economy by U.S. News & World Report and No. 2 by the Department of Labor for being the best state to get a job. The residents who are leaving Denver will most certainly continue to call Colorado home.


Tara L. King is the employing broker for HomeSmart Cherry Creek Properties and has been a real estate broker in Colorado since 1992

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