Denver recently ranked at number two on the latest edition of US News and World Reports’ annual list Best Places to Live. Each year, US News and World Reports reviews 125 metro areas and rates them on five areas which are intended to measure how nice a place is to live and work and the cost of living there.
Those of us who live in the Greater Metro Denver Area are familiar with the bountiful number of sunny days, the plethora of nearby outdoor activities in the mountains and the active lifestyle these encourage.
Here are the other items that helped Denver earn that number two ranking:
- A strong job market with an unemployment rate well below the national average and median income well above the national average.
- Strong school systems which scores well on their College Readiness Index. Interestingly, several high schools and colleges in the area also rank well on the educational lists that US News produces.
- The continued popularity of Denver measured by continued high migration numbers.
As more people continue to move into the city, this leads us to the real estate market.
It is impossible to miss all the construction around town and cranes that punctuate the downtown skyline. Real estate prices have gone up significantly in the last five years or so and are now well above the national average:
But once annual household income is put into the mix, Denver still ranks very favorably against other similar-sized metro areas. US News considers both factors when looking at the “value” of living in a given metro area.
Colorado is the second-most highly educated state, with nearly 40% of residents having a bachelor’s degree or higher. Denver is also a city with a young population: US News reports that the median age in the metro area is 36.3. This means most residents’ earning potential is still ahead of them.
Since a good percentage of the population are in well-paying jobs, they can afford the prices being posted. And since Denver is still more affordable than large coastal cities that attract a similar demographic, demand continues to outpace supply. In fact, earlier this year, Forbes ranked Denver as the most competitive city in the nation to purchase a house. This is based on the percentage of buyers shopping for a mortgage before choosing a house; the average down payment percentage; and percentage of buyers who have a credit score above 680.
Just last week, census numbers revealed that Metro Denver’s population has grown by almost 390,000 in the last eight years. This has driven much but by no means all of the state’s population growth this decade, making Colorado one of the fastest-growing states in the country.
The number of people interested in moving to Denver is only likely to increase when the city shows up at such a high spot on lists like the one released by US News. Thus the cycle of popularity and demand for housing seems likely to continue with no apparent end in sight.