If you’re thinking about moving to Denver, you’re not alone. For a decade, Denver has been one of the hottest relocation destinations. It’s also ranked as one of the top five places to live by US News and World Report. Denver’s population grew by over 100,000 to 682,545 in the past decade. The metro area’s population is 2.8 million, which is about half of Colorado’s population.
Denver has become a hub for the aerospace, defense and tech industries, especially since Lockheed Martin relocated there. Other sectors with good jobs include healthcare, finance, biotech, and tourism and hospitality. The University of Denver, the University of Colorado-Denver and UC Boulder also provide employment in health care and higher education. Denver’s unemployment is lower than the US average, and the median income is higher.
A booming economy and growing population is great, except for the pressure it puts on housing prices and infrastructure. Median home prices are $343,400, and houses can be hard to find. Average rent on a 2-bedroom apartment is $1132, both higher than the US average. Property taxes, however, are lower than the US average. State income taxes are a flat 4.77%, and sales taxes are 7.65%.
As Denver has grown, long-time residents say traffic problems have worsened. The average commute time is just under 25 minutes, which is in-line with other large metro areas. Mass transit is available, with a light rail system that reaches out into the suburbs and to Boulder. And Denver has a network of bike lanes and trails that make biking to work feasible, even in the winter.
It’s not just weekday traffic that’s a problem: Weekend ski traffic is a thing here, as people head to Vail, Winter Park and other ski areas. But let’s be honest: There may be traffic heading into the mountains every weekend, since Denver is ideally situated for outdoors enthusiasts. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, or climbing, the nearby mountains, provide plenty of trails. Rocky Mountain National Park is an easy day trip. Denver gets 245 sunny days a year, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure.
Not into the outdoors? Denver is home to pro football, baseball, hockey and basketball teams, as well as world class golf courses. (Or golf courses that will make you think you’re world class, because the high altitude means golf balls travel up to 10% further.) Other entertainment options include concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, art museums and historic sites, the Denver Zoo, and festivals pretty much year-round.
Moving with a family? Denver schools average 16 pupils per teacher and are generally well regarded. If you’re looking for suburbs, family friendly suburbs include Greenwood Village, Louisville, and Centennial. All feature a range of housing stock, from condos to large family homes. Boulder, home of the University of Colorado, has the best public schools in the state and a relaxed, college town vibe. Commute times are not far off the average, with the advantage of a train connecting the two cities.
Denver has a lot to offer retires, too, especially those looking for an active retirement. Residents of the Capitol Hill neighborhood can walk to shopping, dining and entertainment; the suburbs of Wheat Ridge, Littleton and Centennial are also good options.
New residents moving from lower elevations –and there only a few cities in the U.S. with higher elevations than Denver—should be mindful of the altitude. Strenuous exercise will be more difficult until you become used to the environment, and you may need to adjust your cake and cookie recipes. Above all, watch for symptoms of altitude sickness, including dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath and nausea.
Welcome to Denver!
Beautiful views, plenty of outdoor activities, and job opportunities are all responsible for Denver’s dramatic boom. If you’re planning a move to Denver, you’ll want a great partner to help you get there. Find an agent.