Colorado is in the midst of an economic boom. It's driven in large part by 2012's Amendment 64, otherwise known as the ballot initiative that legalized marijuana for recreational use. Renewable energy, aerospace, mining and manufacturing are also leading the charge in equal parts, however. And construction as well, given that the state is seeing a large influx of new residents.
So all of this means that Denver is presently not going to be one of the more affordable cities in the state. However, there are still some relatively affordable areas of Denver that are definitely worth looking at. The best news is, many of them are within a short commute of downtown. These are the neighborhoods to look at for the best affordable housing Denver has to offer.
- 1. Northern Denver
Median Home Price: $178,195
Denver is an expensive place to live. The median housing price in the metro area was $390,067 to close out 2015, a jump of nearly $70,000 from where prices were in 2014. Northern Denver's housing prices are less than half the metro area's average price, however, at a median sale price of only $178,195. Aside from the cost of living, northern Denver is well supplied with amenities. The area has a wide range of grocery stores, restaurants, shopping, schools and parks, and is also well served by public transit. Northern Denver encompasses neighborhoods like Globeville, Elyria/Swansea, Cole, Clayton and Five Points. These are diverse neighborhoods that have traditionally been a mix of Latino and European immigrants and are currently seeing a major redevelopment push. Yet this remains one of the few affordable areas still within a short drive of downtown Denver. Five Points has traditionally been called the "Harlem of the West" due to its history as a jazz mecca, and today it is a mix of craft breweries and coffee houses with hearty soul food and barbecue restaurants. For affordable housing Denver style this is one of the first places to look. Learn more about Northern Denver housing.
- 2. Gateway-Green Valley Ranch
Median Home Price: $191,620
This area is located just to the east of what is typically referred to as "northeast Denver." It's a bit farther out from downtown than the other neighborhoods on this list, but still within a reasonable commute. This area has a strong system of amenities and is also highly employed, with a median household income that is higher than the rest of Denver. Yet the median home price is only $191,620, making it one of Denver's most affordable areas. This is a mostly suburban area that represents a quieter alternative to the neighborhoods closer to Denver's center, and is very popular with families. Green Valley Ranch has always been very popular with golfers, and in recent years the shopping options have really expanded in the area. Development in this area is also very new, with many homes built in the last two decades, and it is very convenient to Denver International Airport. Gateway has seen less in the way of development than Green Valley Ranch has, but of course that's good for those looking for a good price and a very quiet area to live in. The city also has formal plans to open an entertainment complex and a light rail station in Gateway in the coming years. Learn more about Gateway-Green Valley Ranch housing.
- 3. Southwest Denver
Median Home Price: $205,377
Southwest Denver is a collection of neighborhoods that includes Harvey Park, Bear Valley, College View, Fort Logan and Ruby Hill. The median home price in this area is $205,377. This area is rich in local amenities and has a very stable local housing market. It is also one of the more diverse areas of Denver, especially popular with Latino and Asian immigrants and home to some seriously good restaurants. Ruby Hill is an up-and-coming neighborhood that is known for its park, which is one of the city's primary sledding and snowboarding destinations when the powder falls in the winter. Fort Logan is a longtime Denver suburb known for its lovely old houses and natural beauty. Bear Valley is also a suburb that was mostly established in the 1970s and has a reputation for being very quiet and serene (and is no longer home to any bears). Harvey Park is a mix of well-preserved mid-century homes with new development that is favored by a very diverse and younger population. In general, these neighborhoods have traditionally been seen as an affordable place for families to start out. Learn more about Southwest Denver housing.
- 4. Central West Denver
Median Home Price: $208,343
Central West Denver neighborhoods include West Colfax, Villa Park, Sloan Lake, Sun Valley, and Barnum. The median home price in this area is $208,343. The area rates very well in amenities and decently in most other categories. A new light rail station and a new public library branch are helping to revitalize West Colfax. Villa Park is also benefiting from the new light rail station, and there are plans in place to make the neighborhood one of the most environmentally friendly in Denver along with Sun Valley. Sloan Lake is named for the actual lake in the neighborhood, which is a popular recreation area. Barnum is actually named after P.T. Barnum, who bought 760 acres in the area in 1882 as a resting place for his show's performers during the off-season. Learn more about Central West Denver housing.
- 5. Northwestern Denver
Median Home Price: $234,376
The Northwestern Denver area is composed of neighborhoods such as Berkeley, Regis, Chaffee Park, Sunnyside, and Highland. The median value of a home for this general area is $234,376. As with the other neighborhoods on this list, amenities are a major selling point for new home buyers. West Highlands is one of the most rapidly developing neighborhoods in the Denver area, with the action centered on new shopping venues and eateries on the Tennyson Street corridor. Berkeley is actually considered one of the more upscale parts of Denver despite the lower median home prices, and is also popular because it is one of the few parts of the city where duplexes are available. Regis is another neighborhood that is more on the upscale side and is home to Regis University. And Chaffee Park has had an amazing turnaround in the past few years and is now popular for its extremely low crime rate and 1940s brick homes. Learn more about Northwestern Denver housing.
See even more information about the best Denver, CO neighborhoods as well as a neighborhood map.