Should I Move to Denver?

by | Sep 30, 2020 | Buying

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Maybe a better question is, why shouldn’t you move to Denver, Colorado? It’s a beautiful city with 300 days of sunshine a year, close proximity to the Rocky Mountains, a healthy, fit populace, legal recreational marijuana, and a great job market for young professionals. There are multiple positive reasons for moving to the Mile High City. 

What’s housing like? 

Denver has come a long way from the shale oil days of the 80s when its economy was more limited and easily influenced by booms and busts. These days with the resilience and diversity of the overall economy, even the pandemic isn’t hurting Denver as much as with other cities. One aspect of that resiliency is the real estate market. 

Another aspect might be the vague pandemic need for people to move away from the bigger cities like Los Angeles, New York and Houston toward the perceived “mountains” and other possible Zoom towns. 

According to the Denver Post, total sales volume in 2020 for Denver metro area homes has increased by 3% over the same period in 2019. As of August, the average list price for homes in Denver metro topped $600,000, a record high. 

There is no indication that the demand for housing will slow down any time soon. As long as the need for homes continues to increase, housing costs and prices will continue to steadily rise, along with the local cost of living. 

Low interest rates continue to help. The Federal Reserve has made it clear that it does not intend to raise interest rates any time soon. For now, it’s reasonable to expect the seller’s market in Denver to extend through 2021.

The national economy is also a big question mark, as 2020 has seen our national debt skyrocket. The unemployment rate in the United States continues to be a lingering issue that has yet to be fully resolved. These challenges could have an impact on the Denver housing market next year, as well as that of the rest of the country.

What neighborhoods are good for young professionals?

As with any city, when living in Denver, the action is closer to the center for live music, arts, theater, restaurants – Denver is now definitely a food city. And when the pandemic ends and many people have stopped working from home, that will undoubtedly be the place where all the jobs are again as well. Below are a few examples of hot neighborhoods. 

Baker

Baker is defined by it’s eastern edge of Broadway, which runs one-way south from downtown Denver. The neighborhood begins at 6th Avenue to the north, just south of the Santa Fe Arts District, and is bounded on the west and south by I-25. 

Broadway is the hub of Baker. Several blocks of North Broadway exist in Baker before transitioning into South Broadway. Both of which are lined with a colorful set of shops and restaurants. Some residents also call their neighborhood South Broadway, SoBo for short. 

Sputnik and Hi-Dive are unique local venues, one being a bar and the other a music venue, respectively. Additionally, the Mayan Theater is a great independent and iconic theater in the area running non-mainstream films. 

Baker is known for its hearty mix of many different kinds of housing architecture and was once a working-class neighborhood in the past. And it has transitioned through many different eras which has helped with this merry architectural mix-up. Baker is also remarkable as it’s particularly apartment-building deprived, as most of the buildings are single family homes. 

Median home sale price in Baker, April 2020: $525,000

Capitol Hill

Sometimes known by Denver residents as “Cap Hill,” Capitol Hill runs north to south from around East Colfax Avenue to 6th Avenue, and west to east from Broadway (and the Capitol Building) to Cheesman Park. But basically anywhere from Colfax and Speer east to Colorado Boulevard is pretty much the same neighborhood, although there are distinct smaller areas such as Cheesman Park, Congress Park, Governor’s Park, which are technically their own neighborhoods too. 

Capitol Hill is a long-time favorite for first-timers to Denver and locals alike. It’s Colorado’s most densely populated neighborhood, many Denver college students live there, and so there are plenty of people around and a lot of bars and restaurants to enjoy. It has an eclectic mix of people to keep the days and nights interesting.

Between workers and tourists going in and out of the Colorado State Capitol and locals and tourists visiting the neighborhoods many bars, music venues, restaurants and museums, there’s always something going on in Capitol Hill. Parking is a pain, so trade your car for your own two feet or a bicycle. The streets blend old and new in both their combination of historic and trendy amenities and their mix of timeworn walk-ups, historic mansions, townhomes, and condos galore too.

There’s no one particular destination that’s the heart of Capitol Hill, other than the obvious Capitol building; instead worthy pit-stops are peppered throughout. Wax Trax Records is a classic, time-honored vinyl destination. Argonaut Wine & Liquor will have any kind of booze you could possibly ever need. Stop by Pete’s Kitchen for a hearty Breakfast Burrito Supreme at any time of day, including 4am. Or step back in time at the Molly Brown House Museum, one-time residence of a famous survivor of the Titanic, the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown. 

Median home sale price in Capitol Hill, April 2020: $309,250

Cherry Creek

If you follow Speer Boulevard southeast from downtown Denver either by road or by the Cherry Creek Bike Path, you’ll reach the ritzy neighborhood of Cherry Creek. The Cherry Creek Shopping Center at Speer Boulevard marks the southern end of the neighborhood. Colorado Boulevard is its east side. Roughly 6th Avenue is its northern border, and University Avenue is the western boundary. 

This upscale place to live and visit shares a lot in common with Capitol Hill with its living advantages, as it more or less borders it along the southeast. There are a mix of apartments and homes to rent, with some of the city’s most luxurious residences tucked away on its streets.

The center of the neighborhood is between 1st and 3rd Avenues, and University and Steele St, as this is Denver’s most iconic luxury shopping area, known as Cherry Creek North.

Don’t miss the Cherry Cricket, a gem of a burger restaurant in the heart of Cherry Creek. It also has a famous annual festival called the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. But of course the massive draw to Cherry Creek continues to be the shopping; it is widely considered to be the best shopping between San Francisco and Chicago. 

Median home sale price in Cherry Creek, April 2020: $985,000

Downtown

Downtown is really 2 areas: the Central Business District (CBD) and Lower Downtown (LoDo). The eastern edge of Downtown Denver is roughly Broadway, and Park Avenue helps form its northeastern edge. The northwestern cap is the South Platte River by Confluence Park, and the northeastern side is bounded by 20th Avenue. Speer Boulevard forms its southwestern edge and Colfax Avenue to the south. LoDo, which is north of the CBD, starts roughly at Larimer Street. 

Both areas feature high rise apartment buildings and lofts, which often come at a staggering cost for their convenience. Some apartments in LoDo, especially around the ballpark, have a reputation for a younger party crowd.

The CBD is where all the business happens. The 16th Street Mall, an outdoor promenade of shopping and dining, connects the Central Business District with LoDo via a free mall bus ride. This complimentary RTD service picks up and drops off passengers on every block, heading both north and south on 16th. It starts close to the Colorado State Capitol building and ends in LoDo at Union Station.

LoDo is Denver’s most popular nightlife spot with many bars and restaurants radiating from Larimer Square and Union Station up to Coors Field. Recently refurbished Union Station has excellent restaurants, bars, and even a hotel inside. And if you want to catch a baseball game, Coors Field is right up the road from Union Station. 

Median home sale price in Downtown, April 2020: $580,000

Five Points

Five Points neighbors LoDo to the south and Uptown to the southeast around 20th Avenue. The South Platte River marks the north and west end and Downing Street marks the east.  Five Points includes the neighborhoods of RiNo, Ballpark, and Curtis Park too, as they were part of Five Points historically. RiNo stands for River North. 

A lot is happening in Five Points, with construction on Brighton Boulevard, Larimer and Welton. As the latest booming part of Denver, it’s where many new restaurants, bars, art galleries, and music venues in Denver have been popping up in the last couple of years.. Throughout much of the twentieth century it was also the center of Denver’s jazz scene and African-American community. Each year they honor this heritage at the Five Points Jazz Festival.

The Larimer Lounge and the newly built Mission Ballroom are great area music venues in the area. And a local partnership including basketball great and Denver’s own Chauncey Billups is working to refurbish the historic Rossonian Hotel which fell into disrepair over the years but is an incredible part of Denver’s African-American and jazz history. 

Apartment buildings and townhomes seemed to be a big focus in 2019, but there are many single-family homes in the area as well. 

Median home sale price in Five Points, April 2020: $540,000

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