What a year 2020 was! With everything that happened in the world unrelated to real estate, you would have hoped we’d be seeing numbers that are kinder (a.k.a. less expensive) this year. One word to sum that up: nope!
The Most and Least Expensive Denver Neighborhoods
We’ve all heard how expensive Denver is becoming. When we look at the stats for the entire Front Range, counties like Boulder and Clear Creek tend to skew the numbers. Dialing into just Denver County, we see that the median sale price (MSP) went up 9.1% in 2020, but some neighborhoods have seen an even higher increase. So, to answer the burning question, is Denver becoming unaffordable? I’ll let you decide…
- The most affordable neighborhood (bottom of the list) rose 18.3% from 2019, to an MSP of $210,000.
- Over 51% of Denver’s neighborhoods have an MSP greater than $500,000 (up from 45% of neighborhoods in 2019).
- Only 43% of Denver’s neighborhoods are in the $250k-$500k range (down from 50% in 2019).
- Just 3.8% of neighborhoods have an MSP of less than $250,000 (unchanged from 2019).
Denver Neighborhoods that Appreciated the Most + Least in the Last Year
We ranked Denver’s hottest up-and-coming neighborhoods using historical price growth data. A newcomer to our MSP growth list in 2020 was Hilltop, at 28.9% above Denver’s county’s already high appreciation of 9.1% (total appreciation of 38.0%!). Hilltop’s appreciation was driven by its larger lots and high amount of home renovations and new construction compared to its peer neighborhoods. The word is also getting out about Clayton, which boosted its neighborhood appreciation by 25.6% (approximately $100k of appreciation).
On the flip side, Union Station was hit hard by the pandemic as large-building living became less popular and an influx of new listings hit the market. Other traditionally hot neighborhoods saw a cool-off as well, which was welcomed by buyers searching in those neighborhoods.
Denver Neighborhoods that Appreciated the Most + Least in the Last Five Years
Looking back over the last five years and focusing on the neighborhoods with the most appreciation brings quite a few newcomers to the list. Goldsmith, College View/ South Platte, Country Club, Belcaro, and Speer all broke into the top ten this year. In fact, the Goldsmith neighborhood went from worst to first by doubling its appreciation in the last year!
The Priciest and Cheapest Square Footage in Denver
Price per square foot (PSF) is a great metric for homebuyers because it puts neighborhoods on an even playing field in regard to density. If you have minimum space requirements for your home search (which, let’s face it, we all do), the PSF is an excellent tool. Multiply the PSF for a neighborhood by your space needs to get an idea of which neighborhoods will work for your budget. Below, we have the top ten priciest and most affordable neighborhoods by PSF:
The Fastest and Slowest Selling Neighborhoods in Denver
If you’re staying attuned to our monthly market updates, this shouldn’t be a big surprise: single family homes are moving quickly, condos are not. Remember, this is a look back. Things are changing in the downtown/condo market, and I expect to see a big reshuffle next year! The chart below reveals Denver’s fastest and slowest selling neighborhoods by the average number of days that homes spend on the market:
Denver Neighborhoods with the Most and Least Inventory
<Insert Tom Hanks’s hysterical laugh from Money Pit> Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about inventory (or the lack thereof). The single family market has very little inventory, some neighborhoods with less than two weeks! While Denver County fares better at 1.56 months, that’s largely being propped up by the slow-moving downtown/condo market. Once we recover (which we’re in the process of) from the COVID-19 related downtown/condo slowdown, prepare to see that number drop (though I really hope I’m wrong on this one!). Don’t forget, inventory ranging from 5-8 months is a neutral market — we’re still not hitting buyer’s market numbers in any Denver neighborhood.
The last year has been rough for home buyers looking in most Denver neighborhoods, and the pain is bleeding over to 2021. Sellers are fearful of listing their home and not finding a replacement to buy, which is exacerbating the problem. Equipping yourself with the right data will help set proper expectations on what your Denver home search will look like. The word “deal” doesn’t surface much in our market, but if you are looking for one, I would point you in the direction of Union Station, Civic Center, and the Central Business District. While those markets aren’t the cheapest, they are poised to jump in appreciation over the next 18-24 months.