Denver real estate market - key stats

Denver has been one of the hottest real estate markets in the country in recent years, as the Colorado lifestyle, hot job market and relatively more affordable housing than in some coastal markets increased the population of the Rocky Mountain city by 27% between 2010 and 2020.

Updated
November 15, 2022
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The Denver housing market, as in many other places in the U.S., has experienced rapid appreciation and low inventory. But as the spring market progresses and mortgage rates rise, the local market is also seeing a slight increase in homes on the market. Still, the Denver housing market is among the most competitive in the country. 

Rents have increased in Denver in the last two years as well, reflecting the continued influx of new residents and increased household formation. Denver is considered among the top cities for remote workers, which also raises rental demand.

Other markets in Colorado, such as Aurora, Boulder, and Colorado Springs, are similarly competitive for both homebuyers and renters. Colorado’s thriving economy is anticipated to keep the Denver housing market stable for the near future. 

While new listings are coming on the market, double-digit price increases and bidding wars for properties are still happening, according to a recent Colorado Public Radio article

In this article:

Snapshot: Denver’s substantial home-value increase

  • 1 year median sales price: increased 20% from $483,922 in March 2021 to $579,141 in March 2022.1
  • Median days on market: 5 days in March 2022, the same as in March 2021 but much quicker compared to 12 days in March 2017.2
  • Price per sq ft: $286 in February 2022, an increase of $50 per square foot compared to February 2021 and up $118 compared to February 2017.2
  • Average rent: climbed 14.7% year-over-year according to the April 2022 report by ApartmentL

Key Denver real estate market statistics

Denver historical home value trends 

Denver’s trajectory as a hot market has been rising for years, long before the pandemic’s new migration patterns and remote work capabilities made the mile-high city even more popular. 

  • Home values in Denver increased by 55% over the past five years and continued to rise 20% over the past year.
  • Nationally, the median sales price grew 15% year-over-year and 51% over the past five years, putting Denver ahead of national trends.1 

Denver home valuation growth outpaces national trend

Change in Denver median home sales price

Compared to many of the other metro areas with thriving real estate markets, Denver’s price appreciation over the past year has been similar or slightly less than those markets, which may be a function of Denver being an early starter in migration patterns to smaller non-coastal cities. 

  • The median sales price rose 19% in Atlanta over the past year to $356,374 in March, and 20% in Charlotte to $367,712, both comparable to Denver’s sales price growth. 
  • In Tampa, sales prices rose 25% year-over-year in March to $345,593, and prices grew by 27% to a median sales price of $402,669 in Austin in March 2022.1 

Denver median sales price increased 20% over past year

Average home price per square foot

The median price per square foot varies widely in the metro areas of some of these hot markets. 

Nationally, the median price per square foot was $218 in February 2022, compared to $172 in Atlanta, $187 in Charlotte, $213 in Tampa, $260 in Austin and $286 in Denver.2

Price per square foot increased $50 over past year in Denver

Denver Real Estate Inventory

Denver’s active listings rose in March, leading some buyers to hope that the seller’s market there might be shifting a little. 

However, housing inventory in Denver remains low. In March 2022, there were just 1,787 active listings on the market in Denver, down 19% compared to March 2021. 

Active listings in Denver trending lower YoY

Median Days on Market in Denver

Homes continue to sell in a median of 5 days in Denver, just as they did in February 2021 and only five days more quickly than in February 2017. In other words, the Denver market has been brisk for at least half a decade.2

Homes sell far more quickly in Denver than in competing markets and compared to the pace of sales nationally. 

  • Homes sold in a median of 25 days nationally in February and were on the market for a median of 32 days in Charlotte and Austin that month.
  • In Atlanta, homes sold in a median of 17 days, while they sold in a median of 9 days in Tampa in February.2

Homes sell within just 5 days on the market in Denver

Inventory issues have caused sales to slow nationally since last year, down 6% from 441,458 in February 2021 to 414,726 in February 2022.

  • Denver’s sales slowed more, down 13% from 3,881 homes sold in February 2021 to 3,373 sold in February 2022. 
  • Among comparable markets, sales dropped year-over-year by 3.7% in Atlanta and were flat in Tampa. In Austin, home sales increased 6.8% year-over-year and rose by 4.2% in Charlotte.2

The Denver housing market continues to attract buyers and has a Redfin compete score of 91, meaning the market is highly competitive.

Most and least expensive neighborhoods 

Denver has a variety of housing options at different price points. Here we break down the most and least expensive neighborhoods in Denver, according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI).1

The 10 most expensive neighborhoods in Denver:

  1. Country Club: $1,778,447 
  2. Hilltop: $1,670,551
  3. Belcaro: $1,580,798
  4. Washington Park: $1,396,157
  5. University Park: $1,220,769
  6. Cherry Creek: $1,174,689
  7. Wellshire: $1,144,303
  8. South Park Hill: $1,015,400
  9. Cory-Merrill: $957,995
  10. Washington Park West: $923,536

The 10 least expensive neighborhoods in Denver:

  1. Windsor: $265,784
  2. DIA: $363,014
  3. Capitol Hill: $394,391
  4. Indian Creek: $402,789
  5. Westwood: $433,951
  6. Elyria Swansea: $446,520
  7. Globeville: $452,406
  8. Montbello: $465,217
  9. College View: $472,354
  10. Barnum: $474,875

Denver real estate FAQs

Is it a good time to buy a house in Denver? 

Yes, the Denver housing market has been strong for years with homes consistently rising in value. As more listings become available buyers may have an easier time finding a home to buy.

Is Denver's housing market going to crash?

Not very likely, since Denver continues to attract new residents and still has a shortage of housing compared to demand.

Is Denver real estate overpriced? 

No. Even with double-digit price appreciation last year, the housing market in the Denver continues to be more affordable than in some coastal markets. Moreover, demand for homes will keep values steady or appreciating. 

Denver rental market trends

Rising population and increased household formations in Denver have led to rising rents as well as home prices over the past year. The housing shortage in Denver includes rental units and homes for purchase and the Denver lifestyle continues to attract more people to the city. 

Denver median rental prices year over year change  

The average rent in Denver climbed 14.7% year-over-year according to the April 2022 report by ApartmentList. 

Rents dipped slightly in January month-over-month and then began to climb again in February 2022. But compared to the national average rent increase of 17.1% year-over-year, Denver’s rental market lags slightly. 

Rent in Denver increased 14.7% over the past year

Statewide, rents climbed in Colorado slightly faster at 15.1% compared to Denver’s year-over-year rent increases.5

The gap between renting and buying in Denver narrowed in February, with the average monthly mortgage payment at $2,520 (assuming a 5% down payment) compared to the average monthly rent payment of $2,729, according to Redfin.2

But as mortgage rates rise, renting may become less expensive than buying. In addition, many renters are not interested in buying a home soon, lack down payment funds or cannot find an affordable home to buy.

Rent in Denver by number of bedrooms

Denver rental yield

Rental yield in Denver was 5.71% in March 2022, according to data from Zillow analyzed by HoneyBricks. 

While that’s a little less than the U.S. rental yield of 6.77%, it’s above yields in Tampa (4.37%) and Charlotte (4.05%). Rental yields were higher in March 2022 in Austin (7.16%) and Atlanta (6.42%).1 

Rental yields soften as home valuation growth outpaces rate of rental price increase

How landlord friendly is Denver?

While some landlord-tenant regulations follow state laws, others are specific to Denver. Generally, Denver is considered a landlord-friendly city, but before investing there it’s best to be aware of some local requirements.6

  • Tenants are allowed to withhold their rent payments under specific circumstances, such as hazardous conditions, if they have notified the landlord and provided sufficient time for the problem to be addressed.
  • Evictions of tenants must follow a legal process with a specific timeline including a 10-day notice for demand for rent and a 1-to-91-day notice for an eviction.
  • A 7-day grace period must be given before a late fee can be imposed.
  • Late fees cannot be more than a maximum of $50 or 5% of the rent, whichever is more.
  • Rents can only be raised annually. 

Property investment taxes in Denver

Property taxes in Denver are among the lowest in the country, with an effective property tax rate of 0.50%. 

In Denver, the median annual property tax payment was $1,771 in 2021 based on the median property value of $357,300.7

Your real estate investment in Denver may offer some income tax benefits, since you’re taxed only on the profit from your rental and can deduct many expenses. Consult a tax advisor for individualized information about property taxes on an investment property in Denver.

Denver neighborhood guide

Overall, Denver ranks as the 16th most walkable large city in the U.S. While the city is in the Rocky Mountains, much of downtown is flat and therefore easy for walking and biking. 

The city has light rail and bus systems downtown and to some suburbs, along with express service to Denver International Airport. Overall, Denver has a Walk Score of 61 out of 100, a Transit Score of 45 and a Bike Score of 72.8

Best neighborhoods

Renters often prefer to live in neighborhoods with easy accessibility to shops, restaurants, parks and work. The three neighborhoods with the highest scores for getting around in Denver include:

  • Downtown: With a Walk Score of 94 out of 100, a Transit Score of 90 and a Bike Score of 94, downtown Denver offers the best neighborhood for easily living without a car. 
  • Capitol Hill: Capitol Hill’s Walk Score of 94 means it’s easy to run errands and find places to go in this neighborhood. However, its Transit Score is 66, meaning it has fewer public transit options. This neighborhood has one of the highest Bike Scores in the city at 96.
  • Five Points: Five Points offers plenty of options for living without a car and has a Walk Score of 90, a Transit Score of 73 and a Bike Score of 98.8

Best schools in Denver

School systems often have a lot of variety from one neighborhood school to another, but a recent review by U.S. News & World Report ranked the Denver school system overall with an 8.1 out of 10 for college readiness. The report found that Denver has a higher score than similarly sized metro areas.

Denver has a mix of private schools and public schools, including charter schools. 

Several Denver schools have received the College Success Award from GreatSchools.org10 , which indicates schools that provide exceptional preparation for college: 

  • Denver School of the Arts
  • Denver School of Science and Technology
  • Green Valley Ranch High
  • D’Evelyn Jr./Sr. High, DSST
  • Montview High School 
  • East High School. 

While good schools can be found in most Denver neighborhoods, those with several highly rated schools include Capitol Hill, Central, University Park, Cor-Merrill, Southwest Denver, Cherry Creek and South Park Hill.10

Denver job market

Investing in real estate requires some knowledge of what’s happening in the local job market, since housing values are closely tied to the local economy. 

Key employment stats, industries

Denver ranked 43rd out of 180 best cities for jobs in January 2022, according to WalletHub, which analyzed the job market and socioeconomic factors to determine the rankings.11

According to U.S. News & World Report, Denver’s job market is healthier than many similarly sized cities and is rated 7.6 out of 10 for its employment outlook.12 

Denver is well-known as a city that attracts tech companies, telecom firms, research institutions, financial firms and health care providers. 

Major employers besides the government, school systems and health care systems include Comcast, CenturyLink, Wells Fargo and Xcel Energy, a renewable energy business.13

Affordability and quality of life 

Affordability concerns are important to renters, particularly if they’re relocating or trying to save money for tuition or another purpose. It can be easier to find tenants in a market with more affordable rents. Also, if homes for purchase are unaffordable, that increases the pool of renters in that market.  

How affordable is Denver housing?

The National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Opportunity Index compares the median home price in a metro area to the median household income to determine the percentage of homes that the average household could buy there. Nationally, the HOI was 54.2% during the fourth quarter of 2021, which means that just over half of the homes in the country were affordable to the average household.

In Denver, the HOI was 49.1% during the fourth quarter of 2021, which means just under half of homes were affordable to the average household in the metro area. Denver’s affordability rating is a little lower than some other housing markets, in part because home prices have been rising there longer than some of those other markets. For example, the HOI in Atlanta was 66.6% at the end of 2021. Charlotte’s HOI was 63.4%, Tampa’s was 53.77% and Austin’s was 50.3%.14

How does Denver compare with other places to live? 

Denver ranks 14 on the U.S. News & World Report list of best places to live, with a rating of 7.1 out of 10. The rating looks at quality of life, the job market, desirability to live there and value. 

For Denver, the highest rating (8.4) is for desirability. One reason is may not be ranked among the top 10 on the list could be its popularity, which has made it a more expensive place to live.15 

Denver is in the middle of the pack – ranked at 53 out of 100 – for the best cities for renters according to Forbes. The ranks are based on a variety of factors including how much space you get for your monthly rent, weather and disaster risks, parks and amenities.16

Life in Denver

Denver’s expanding population in recent years has brought a diverse population to the city, which is known for its progressive politics and for its leadership in legalizing recreational use of marijuana. The city is known for its healthy lifestyle, with parks and biking areas downtown, and nearby mountains for skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing and hiking. 

The only downside, especially for long-term residents in Denver, is that the city has become so popular that its cost of living has risen, and traffic jams have become more common. 

Since Denver is one of the country’s fastest-growing housing markets, finding the right investment property there can be time-consuming and challenging. An alternative investment strategy such as HoneyBricks can provide a smoother entrance into the Denver real estate market.

Sign up to the HoneyBricks Early Access Program to be the first to know when investment properties in Denver and other top markets are available for investors. 

About the Author

Michele Lerner

Michele Lerner is an experienced, award-winning freelance writer, editor and author who has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than three decades.

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