Lifestyle, location keep Colorado’s housing market popular (and expensive)

Denver continues to be a popular destination for homebuyers.

U.S. News & World Report named the Denver metro the healthiest housing market in America, surpassing Raleigh, North Carolina.

MetroIntelligence compiled the ranking using the Housing Market Index for June 2023, an interactive data set that aggregates public and private data points categorized by impact on housing demand, supply, and financing.

“When we looked at the data sets for June, it was pretty clear that Denver jumped to the front of the line due to one key factor: demand. With its mile-high elevation and proximity to the Rockies, it’s not surprising to see more consumers looking to maximize their lifestyle options by relocating or opting to stay in Denver,” said Patrick S. Duffy, the principal real estate economist for MetroIntelligence, who analyzed the data for U.S. News & World Report.

But that continued popularity comes at a cost. Housing prices continue to climb in Colorado.

According to a study from the real estate research firm Zonda, the top four most expensive non-coastal cities for home prices are in Colorado.

“Housing affordability generally improves as one moves away from the coast, but even inland markets are reaching affordability extremes,” said Zonda’s chief economist, Ali Wolf.

With a median home price of $833,622, Boulder tops the list. Denver follows at $636,651, with Fort Collins third at $593,282. For the first time, Greeley made the list at fourth place with a median home price of $573,957.

Limited supply makes housing more expensive. And Colorado needs to build more houses.

According to Up for Growth, a group dedicated to increasing housing affordability through construction, Colorado had a shortage of 127,000 housing units in 2019. This was the second-largest deficit, following California.

However, by the end of 2021, that shortage dropped to 101,141 units, placing the state with the eighth most severe shortfall. A significant portion of this deficit — about 49,581 homes — was centered in the Denver metro.

Jackie Weinhold with West+Main primarily works helping transplants relocating to Denver for work find their new homes.

“People are still moving here in droves,” Weinhold said. “Colorado is one of the most educated states in the nation. We’ve got a diverse business climate. Not many places have we have.”

Colorado’s housing prices are still a bargain for people moving from New York or California.

“Compared to what people are paying in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, Colorado is still a deal,” Weinhold said. “It’s definitely more affordable than the coastal cities. They’re pleasantly surprised by what they can buy here.”

She said many people who move to Denver want to live in a bigger city.

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“Denver’s a cultural hub with a thriving performing arts scene and a dining scene recognized nationally with Beard Awards and Michelin stars.”

But most people choose Colorado for the outdoors.

“People want to take advantage of Colorado’s diverse outdoor recreation opportunities: biking, hiking, and skiing,” Weinhold said. “They love having easy access to the outdoors.”

The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.

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