Denver, Colorado, started as a mining boom town and railroad center. The city is once again a boom town, with a diversified economic base and a low unemployment rate. Almost 80,000 new residents are moving to the Denver metropolitan area every year. The Mile High City combines the best of urban living with the vast outdoor playground known as the Rocky Mountains.

Market Insights

The real estate market in Denver is explosive with high demand and low inventory. The entire metro area had only about 5,000 homes listed for sale in February of 2016. The result of low supply is steadily rising home prices.

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA), Denver is the number one city nationally in recovering property values since the economic crisis. The FHFA House Price Index gave the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area a rating of 277.53 at the peak, 257.13 at the bottom, and a rating of 403.23, as of May 2016. This represents a 45.29% recovery from the previous peak.

Property and Transfer Taxes

Denver ranks 47th-lowest of the 50 largest U.S. cities for residential property taxes, and ranks 19th for taxes on commercial real estate. The difference lies in the state's allowable assessment for real property. Residential real estate is assessed at 7.96% of market value, and business property is assessed at 29%. The assessed value is then multiplied by the mill levies to arrive at the total property tax. Denver’s base mill levy is 78.127, which equates to $0.078127 per $1,000 of assessed value. Mill rates can be higher in neighborhoods with special improvement districts.

A $500,000 home has an assessed value of $39,800, with a tax bill of $3,109. A $500,000 commercial building is assessed at $145,000, with final tax due of $11,328. Market values are reset every two years, and mill levies are determined each year by the individual taxing authorities. No property tax revenue is given to the state.

Most Expensive Neighborhoods

A real estate map of Denver divides the city into 71 different neighborhoods. Most neighborhoods are less than a square mile in size. Many of these neighborhoods were considered suburbs and still have their own small commercial districts or historical areas. Each has its own distinct flavor and charm.

There were five neighborhoods that stand out from the other 66, based on average home sale prices as January 2016.

The Country Club neighborhood, slightly southeast of downtown, has an average sales price of $1.1 million dollars. It is known for its grand architecturally significant mansions, and part of the neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places. The neighborhood also has many smaller homes based on classic Denver styles of design.

Belcaro, immediately southeast of Country Club, is a tree-lined neighborhood with large lots. The housing stock includes mansions, new custom homes and large ranch houses. The average sales price is $1.03 million.

Hilltop, with an average sales price of $1.02 million, is immediately northeast of Belcaro. The neighborhood is known for its combination of mansions and character homes. Located at a slightly higher elevation than the surrounding area, it provides stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and is only 15 minutes from downtown.

Cory-Merrill, straight south of Belcaro, is slightly more affordable, with an average sales price of $738,900. The area has a mix of older homes and ranch homes on large lots. The neighborhood is a hotbed of remodeling.

Cherry Creek is located north of Belcaro, east of Country Club, and west of Hilltop. Cherry Creek is known for its shopping areas filled with boutiques and trendy restaurants. The area mixes luxury townhomes with McMansion style remodels of older bungalows. The average sales price is $738,000.

Top Real Estate Websites

LiveUrbanDenver.com is a locally owned independent real estate agency that specializes in Denver’s classic neighborhoods. The site has concise descriptions of all Denver’s many neighborhoods. All its brokers are also realtors. DenverRealtyExperts.com is a local brokerage firm with thorough descriptions and listings for every neighborhood. 5280.com, The Denver Magazine, has a real estate section with articles covering many of the neighborhoods from the perspective of what is fun, trendy and desirable, rather than focusing on price. The magazine also covers restaurants, events and culture.

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