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Home Mortgage Rates in Colorado

Current Real Estate Trends

Denver Union Station.

Home prices in Colorado are rather steep, and only a few towns have high enough median salaries to justify them. There is nevertheless a lot of activity in the state’s real estate market, and it’s driving prices even further. Coloradans in return get some of the best ski resorts in North America and a very favorable property tax rate.

Home prices in Colorado tend to be higher than in most other states. According to the real estate tracker Zillow, the median home value in the Centennial State is $337,000. This is quite a bit higher than the national average, which stays around $200,000. Not only is Colorado above the national average, it’s also increasing at a faster pace.

Zillow estimates that home values in Colorado are increasing at more than 9% per year, above the national figure of 7%. According to NeighborhoodScout, a website that monitors demographics, local crime rates, and home values, the appreciation rate in Colorado is roughly 10%, which the website also estimates to be the national average. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, one of the most widely followed real estate trackers, shows significant increases in home values in the state from 2011 onwards.

Zillow calculates the median list price in Colorado to be near $400,000, more than $60,000 higher than the median value. On a per-square-foot basis, the list price is $216. This is higher than the national average of $139. The National Association of Realtors puts the median sale price across the country at more than $250,000. So Colorado is more expensive judged by several indicators.

NeighborhoodScout shows that the majority of homes in Colorado are single-family dwellings, followed by apartment complexes. The three-bedroom single-family home is the most common type of house. According to figures from the NeighborhoodScout website, the most common home price in Colorado is between $136,000 and $409,000.

The real estate monitor Trulia has a heat map on its website that shows property values from green (low price) to red (high price). Compared to the rest of the country, the Centennial State has a lot of orange and red. Only a few places in the country, such as Boston, New York, and parts of California and Florida, show equal amounts of heat. Most states are green.

According to NewHomeSource, a group of 32 home builders in the United States, there are more than 400 construction companies in Colorado that are currently building new homes. The prices of these new dwellings can range from $37,000 for a small unit in an inexpensive town up to $3,000,000 for a luxury home in a more expensive area.

Historical Real Estate Trends

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index shows a gradual advancement in Colorado home prices up until the Great Recession of 2007. A fairly modest decline begins in the spring of 2006 in Denver and continues, at a more rapid pace, until the spring of 2009, at which time prices pick back up again. They stalled in the summer of 2010, only to start upwards once again. Property values were back to pre-crisis levels as early as 2013.

Although it took more than seven years for the real estate market in Denver to recover, the city’s revival is more impressive than the performance of many other property markets around the country.

Take Chicago as an example. The Windy City saw home values plummet by more than 35% during the housing crisis. Denver’s home price index only declined 11% during the same timeframe. And as we have already seen, property values in Denver are now fully recovered. Chicago is still struggling to get back to pre-Recession values, more than a decade later.

The S&P/Case-Shiller National Average Home Price Index also demonstrates Denver’s above-average performance during and after the housing crisis. According to the index, it took until October 2016 for the national average to recover from the housing crisis, and the index shows only a very small increase since the Recession.

The personal finance company WalletHub analyzed the performance of the real estate markets in various American cities post-crisis. It found some cities like Newark, New Jersey still well below 2007 levels. One of the best performing cities in its survey was Denver. WalletHub noted that Denver property values have advanced far beyond 2007 levels.

Colorado Springs Skyline.

According to Trulia, the property market in Colorado Springs also has delivered excellent performance. The real estate website compared home prices in 2007 to the same homes in 2017 in one hundred American cities. It found that only 34% of homes had recovered to pre-Recession prices. In Colorado Springs, 93% of homes had met or exceeded 2007 values. Such strong performance in the Centennial State bodes well for the future of real estate there.

Favored Cities in Colorado

Largest Metropolitan Areas

CO Rank US Rank Metro Area 2016 Pop 2010 Pop Change % △
1 19 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 2,853,077 2,543,482 309,595 12.17%
2 79 Colorado Springs 712,327 645,613 66,714 10.33%
3 150 Fort Collins 339,993 299,630 40,363 13.47%
4 155 Boulder 322,226 294,567 27,659 9.39%
5 163 Greeley 294,932 252,825 42,107 16.65%
6 257 Pueblo 165,123 159,063 6,060 3.81%
7 278 Grand Junction 150,083 146,723 3,360 2.29%
8 458 Glenwood Springs 76,639 73,537 3,102 4.22%
9 552 Durango 55,623 51,334 4,289 8.36%
10 561 Edwards 53,989 52,197 1,792 3.43%
11 616 Cañon City 47,446 46,824 622 1.33%
12 678 Montrose 41,471 41,276 195 0.47%
13 814 Breckenridge 30,374 27,994 2,380 8.50%
14 832 Fort Morgan 28,274 28,159 115 0.41%
15 868 Steamboat Springs 24,648 23,509 1,139 4.84%
16 892 Sterling 21,919 22,709 -790 -3.48%
17 932 Craig 13,109 13,795 -686 -4.97%

Denver Skyline.

The largest city in Colorado is Denver, and the Denver metro area is the most populated region of the state. With roughly 3 million people, it breaks into the top 20 among America’s most populated areas.

Denver’s economy is diverse with a variety of engines. The city is Colorado’s capital, so naturally there is a large public sector. Private companies that employee many people include Lockheed Martin and United Airlines. Energy and mining also play a key role in the area’s economy; notable companies include Halliburton and Rio Tinto Group.

The median price in Denver for a single-family detached home is $420,000, and the average price is $490,000, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. The group estimates that the average time a home is on the market is about one month. Zillow pegs the average home value in the city at $386,000.

The average condo sale price in Denver is approximately $320,000. Condos typically stay on the market an extra ten days, compared to detached single-family houses. There are about 1,200 condos on the market at any one time.

The median household income in Denver County is $54,000 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This produces a home value-to-income ratio of 7.1, which is fairly high compared to national standards.

Aurora and Denver, both part of Colorado’s largest populated area, are growing faster than other municipalities in the state.

According to the Denver Business Journal, Denver, the city is not only popular locally, but is the second most popular city nationally to live in, behind only New York City. Other experts who rated cities consider Colorado Springs as one of the top places to live, when considering cost of living, unemployment, green spaces, and other factors. Other areas rated as desirable places by some experts for various reasons, and that might be popular at least among some groups of people for those same reasons include:

  • Highland Ranch, which was rated high by Money Magazine because of its strong job growth.
  • Castle Rock, which was called the best place for familes, by Family Circle
  • Gunnison, because of the terrain, things to do, and economic opportunity.

Some of the best values in real estate will be found in Pueblo County. Trulia estimates the average list price to be $218,000, while the median sale price is a much better $167,000. Zillow’s home value index for Pueblo is $141,000. The property tracker grades the city an 8.4 out of 10 for real estate health, which is considered very healthy. With a typical annual income of just under $42,000, the area has a home value-to-income ratio of 3.4, much better than Denver’s.

Schools, hospitals, and government bureaucracies are major employers in the region. Vestas Wind Systems operates the largest wind turbine factory in the world just outside of Pueblo.

Skiing & Tourism

Although some real estate experts point out that real estate prices in Colorado are one-third what they are in some other popular areas, like California, they also note there might be some obvious reasons prices are still above the national average. Some reasons include: the natural beauty of the state, including a mountainous area six times the size of the whole country of Switzerland, with many mountains more than 14,000 feet high; the amount of outdoor recreation available; the largest city park system in the country in Denver; a mild climate; and more than 30 major colleges and universities.

There are several ski towns in the Centennial State including Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Telluride, Steamboat Springs, Crested Butte, Winter Park & Keystone.

Vail, Colorado.

Vail is located an hour and a half west of Denver, with the local economy derived mostly from tourism. NeighborhoodScout lists the median home value in Vail at north of $650,000. Apparently, being near the slopes comes at a price. The Zillow home value index actually lists the number at north of $900,000 with an annual increase at nearly 12%. The real estate website also displays a property market health grade of 9.7 out of 10.

The tourism industry is strong in Vail, boosting median incomes to$68,000. Based on Zillow’s figure, this produces a home value-to-income ratio of 13.2, the worst figure in our survey.

Statewide legalization of recreational marijuana use has driven additional tourism, though the legal shift has unaccounted for costs including traffic fatalities.

Colorado Census Data

As of July 1, 2016 the state of Colorado has an estimated population of 5,540,545 across 104,094 mi² yielding a population density of 52.0 people per mi² across the state.

The following table highlights the July 1, 2016 populations of cities, towns & Census Designated Places (CDP) with over 1,000 residents based on United States Census Bureau estimates. For Census Designated Places (CDP) where there was no population estimate available for 2016, the 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates data was used.

All table columns are sortable. Click on the column headers to sort by that column. Click again to sort low to high. Cities with higher levels of population growth typically see the increased demand drive faster real estate price appreciation.

Rank Geography County 2016 Pop 2010 Pop Change % △ Land mi² Pop Den mi²
1 Denver Denver 693,060 600,158 92,902 15.48% 153 4,529.80
2 Colorado Springs El Paso 465,101 416,427 48,674 11.69% 194.54 2,390.77
3 Aurora Arapahoe, Adams & Douglas 361,710 325,078 36,632 11.27% 154.73 2,337.68
4 Fort Collins Larimer 164,207 143,986 20,221 14.04% 54.28 3,025.18
5 Lakewood Jefferson 154,393 142,980 11,413 7.98% 42.88 3,600.58
6 Thornton Adams & Weld 136,703 118,772 17,931 15.10% 34.84 3,923.74
7 Arvada Jefferson & Adams 117,453 106,433 11,020 10.35% 35.14 3,342.43
8 Westminster Adams & Jefferson 113,875 106,114 7,761 7.31% 31.55 3,609.35
9 Pueblo Pueblo 110,291 106,595 3,696 3.47% 53.64 2,056.13
10 Centennial Arapahoe 109,932 100,377 9,555 9.52% 28.72 3,827.72
11 Boulder Boulder 108,090 97,385 10,705 10.99% 24.66 4,383.21
Highlands Ranch CDP Douglas 104,432 96,713 7,719 7.98% 24.26 4,304.70
12 Greeley Weld 103,990 92,889 11,101 11.95% 46.55 2,233.94
13 Longmont Boulder & Weld 92,858 86,270 6,588 7.64% 26.19 3,545.55
14 Loveland Larimer 76,897 66,859 10,038 15.01% 33.59 2,289.28
15 Broomfield Broomfield 66,529 55,889 10,640 19.04% 33.03 2,014.20
16 Grand Junction Mesa 61,881 58,566 3,315 5.66% 38.22 1,619.07
17 Castle Rock Douglas 57,666 48,231 9,435 19.56% 33.79 1,706.60
18 Commerce City Adams 54,869 45,913 8,956 19.51% 34.29 1,600.15
19 Parker Douglas 51,163 45,297 5,866 12.95% 20.48 2,498.19
20 Littleton Arapahoe, Jefferson & Douglas 46,333 41,737 4,596 11.01% 12.98 3,569.57
21 Northglenn Adams & Weld 38,982 35,789 3,193 8.92% 7.41 5,260.73
22 Brighton Adams & Weld 38,314 33,352 4,962 14.88% 19.98 1,917.62
Security-Widefield CDP El Paso 34,836 32,882 1,954 5.94% 13.64 2,553.96
23 Englewood Arapahoe 34,050 30,255 3,795 12.54% 6.56 5,190.55
Dakota Ridge CDP Jefferson 33,580 32,005 1,575 4.92% 9.28 3,618.53
Ken Caryl CDP Jefferson 33,021 32,438 583 1.80% 9.72 3,397.22
24 Wheat Ridge Jefferson 31,372 30,166 1,206 4.00% 9.3 3,373.33
Pueblo West CDP Pueblo 30,440 29,637 803 2.71% 70.43 432.20
25 Fountain El Paso 28,753 25,846 2,907 11.25% 23.98 1,199.04
26 Lafayette Boulder 28,261 24,453 3,808 15.57% 9.46 2,987.42
Columbine CDP Jefferson & Arapahoe 24,709 24,280 429 1.77% 6.65 3,715.64
27 Erie Weld & Boulder 22,803 18,135 4,668 25.74% 17.18 1,327.30
28 Windsor Weld & Larimer 22,776 18,644 4,132 22.16% 24.44 931.91
29 Evans Weld 21,615 18,537 3,078 16.60% 10.2 2,119.12
30 Louisville Boulder 20,801 18,376 2,425 13.20% 7.89 2,636.38
31 Golden Jefferson 20,696 18,867 1,829 9.69% 9.92 2,086.29
Clifton CDP Mesa 20,079 19,889 190 0.96% 6 3,346.50
32 Montrose Montrose 19,311 19,132 179 0.94% 17.8 1,084.89
Sherrelwood CDP Adams 19,209 18,287 922 5.04% 2.43 7,904.94
33 Durango La Plata 18,503 16,887 1,616 9.57% 9.92 1,865.22
Cimarron Hills CDP El Paso 16,746 16,161 585 3.62% 6.06 2,763.37
34 Cañon City Fremont 16,679 16,400 279 1.70% 12.5 1,334.32
Welby CDP Adams 16,408 14,846 1,562 10.52% 3.69 4,446.61
35 Greenwood Village Arapahoe 15,749 13,925 1,824 13.10% 8.27 1,904.35
36 Johnstown Weld & Larimer 15,389 9,887 5,502 55.65% 13.52 1,138.24
Fort Carson CDP El Paso 14,742 13,813 929 6.73% 8.71 1,692.54
37 Sterling Logan 13,988 14,777 -789 -5.34% 7.61 1,838.11
38 Lone Tree Douglas 13,271 10,218 3,053 29.88% 9.57 1,386.73
39 Superior Boulder & Jefferson 13,155 12,483 672 5.38% 3.96 3,321.97
40 Fruita Mesa 12,924 12,646 278 2.20% 7.12 1,815.17
Black Forest CDP El Paso 12,918 13,116 -198 -1.51% 100.65 128.35
41 Firestone Weld 12,917 10,147 2,770 27.30% 10.37 1,245.61
42 Steamboat Springs Routt 12,690 12,088 602 4.98% 10.14 1,251.48
43 Federal Heights Adams 12,458 11,467 991 8.64% 1.78 6,998.88
44 Frederick Weld 12,154 8,679 3,475 40.04% 13.44 904.32
Cherry Creek CDP Arapahoe 12,087 11,120 967 8.70% 1.68 7,194.64
Berkley CDP Adams 11,599 11,207 392 3.50% 3.71 3,126.42
The Pinery CDP Douglas 11,384 10,517 867 8.24% 10.36 1,098.84
45 Fort Morgan Morgan 11,348 11,315 33 0.29% 3.93 2,887.53
Castle Pines North Douglas 10,360 10,360 0 0.00% 9.01 1,149.83
46 Castle Pines Douglas 10,284 10,360 -76 -0.73% 9.57 1,074.61
Redlands CDP Mesa 10,086 8,685 1,401 16.13% 13.38 753.81
47 Glenwood Springs Garfield 9,997 9,614 383 3.98% 5.68 1,760.04
48 Alamosa Alamosa 9,918 8,780 1,138 12.96% 5.39 1,840.07
Roxborough Park CDP Douglas 9,859 9,099 760 8.35% 9.23 1,068.15
Edwards CDP Eagle 9,792 10,266 -474 -4.62% 26.64 367.57
49 Rifle Garfield 9,665 9,172 493 5.38% 5.61 1,722.82
Stonegate CDP Douglas 9,264 8,962 302 3.37% 1.99 4,655.28
Gunbarrel CDP Boulder 9,184 9,263 -79 -0.85% 6.24 1,471.79
50 Cortez Montezuma 9,007 8,482 525 6.19% 6.21 1,450.40
51 Craig Moffat 8,952 9,464 -512 -5.41% 5.14 1,741.63
52 Delta Delta 8,914 8,915 -1 -0.01% 13.74 648.76
Evergreen CDP Jefferson 8,688 9,038 -350 -3.87% 11.52 754.17
Derby CDP Adams 8,565 7,685 880 11.45% 1.74 4,922.41
53 Wellington Larimer 8,516 6,289 2,227 35.41% 3.37 2,527.00
Woodmoor CDP El Paso 8,427 8,741 -314 -3.59% 6.27 1,344.02
Fairmount CDP Jefferson 8,222 7,559 663 8.77% 6 1,370.33
54 Trinidad Las Animas 8,103 9,096 -993 -10.92% 9.28 873.17
55 Fort Lupton Weld 7,971 7,377 594 8.05% 7.19 1,108.62
Applewood CDP Jefferson 7,623 7,160 463 6.47% 4.08 1,868.38
56 Lamar Prowers 7,534 7,804 -270 -3.46% 4.23 1,781.09
Fruitvale CDP Mesa 7,458 7,675 -217 -2.83% 2.91 2,562.89
57 Woodland Park Teller 7,390 7,200 190 2.64% 6.53 1,131.70
58 Gypsum Eagle 6,969 6,477 492 7.60% 7.67 908.60
59 La Junta Otero 6,930 7,077 -147 -2.08% 3.02 2,294.70
60 Aspen Pitkin 6,871 6,658 213 3.20% 3.87 1,775.45
61 Carbondale Garfield 6,777 6,427 350 5.45% 2.04 3,322.06
62 Eagle Eagle 6,739 6,508 231 3.55% 4.59 1,468.19
Twin Lakes CDP Adams 6,698 6,101 597 9.79% 1.65 4,059.39
63 Milliken Weld 6,678 5,610 1,068 19.04% 11.73 569.31
64 Cherry Hills Village Arapahoe 6,585 5,987 598 9.99% 6.21 1,060.39
65 Monument El Paso 6,556 5,530 1,026 18.55% 4.83 1,357.35
66 Avon Eagle 6,525 6,447 78 1.21% 8.03 812.58
Gleneagle CDP El Paso 6,470 6,611 -141 -2.13% 2.42 2,673.55
Orchard Mesa CDP Mesa 6,385 6,836 -451 -6.60% 3.88 1,645.62
67 Berthoud Larimer & Weld 6,368 5,105 1,263 24.74% 11.43 557.13
68 Estes Park Larimer 6,362 5,858 504 8.60% 6.71 948.14
69 Gunnison Gunnison 6,261 5,854 407 6.95% 3.23 1,938.39
70 Sheridan Arapahoe 6,041 5,664 377 6.66% 2.22 2,721.17
Stratmoor CDP El Paso 6,035 6,900 -865 -12.54% 2.83 2,132.51
Air Force Academy CDP El Paso 5,864 6,680 -816 -12.22% 9.99 586.99
71 Lochbuie Weld & Adams 5,719 4,726 993 21.01% 3.74 1,529.14
Dove Valley CDP Arapahoe 5,600 5,243 357 6.81% 3.73 1,501.34
72 Salida Chaffee 5,581 5,236 345 6.59% 2.57 2,171.60
73 Vail  Eagle 5,483 5,305 178 3.36% 4.67 1,174.09
74 Brush Morgan 5,408 5,463 -55 -1.01% 2.47 2,189.47
75 Edgewater Jefferson 5,323 5,170 153 2.96% 0.7 7,604.29
76 Manitou Springs El Paso 5,317 4,992 325 6.51% 3.16 1,682.59
77 Glendale Arapahoe 5,197 4,184 1,013 24.21% 0.55 9,449.09
78 Dacono Weld 5,090 4,152 938 22.59% 7.94 641.06
79 Eaton Weld 5,086 4,365 721 16.52% 2.36 2,155.08
80 Breckenridge Summit 4,896 4,540 356 7.84% 5.91 828.43
Shaw Heights CDP Adams 4,760 5,116 -356 -6.96% 0.7 6,800.00
81 New Castle Garfield 4,753 4,518 235 5.20% 2.66 1,786.84
Battlement Mesa CDP Garfield 4,689 4,471 218 4.88% 11.57 405.27
82 Mead Weld 4,553 3,405 1,148 33.72% 9.64 472.30
83 Silverthorne Summit 4,505 3,887 618 15.90% 3.97 1,134.76
Castle Pines Village CDP Douglas 4,504 3,614 890 24.63% 4.97 906.24
Niwot CDP Boulder 4,497 4,006 491 12.26% 4 1,124.25
84 Monte Vista Rio Grande 4,266 4,444 -178 -4.01% 2.59 1,647.10
85 Burlington Kit Carson 4,184 4,254 -70 -1.65% 2.09 2,001.91
86 Severance Weld 4,021 3,165 856 27.05% 6.15 653.82
87 Florence Fremont 3,943 3,881 62 1.60% 4.17 945.56
88 Basalt Eagle & Pitkin 3,921 3,857 64 1.66% 1.98 1,980.30
Todd Creek CDP Adams 3,879 3,768 111 2.95% 9.84 394.21
West Pleasant View CDP Jefferson 3,830 3,840 -10 -0.26% 1.49 2,570.47
89 Rocky Ford Otero 3,816 3,957 -141 -3.56% 1.66 2,298.80
Genesee CDP Jefferson 3,703 3,609 94 2.60% 6.66 556.01
Castle Pines CDP Douglas 3,614 3,614 0 0.00% 4.97 727.16
90 Yuma Yuma 3,582 3,524 58 1.65% 3.12 1,148.08
El Jebel CDP Eagle 3,526 3,801 -275 -7.23% 5.33 661.54
Lincoln Park CDP Fremont 3,222 3,546 -324 -9.14% 3.76 856.91
Ponderosa Park CDP Elbert 3,211 3,232 -21 -0.65% 14.54 220.84
Penrose CDP Fremont 3,211 3,582 -371 -10.36% 17.85 179.89
Meridian CDP Douglas 3,107 2,970 137 4.61% 0.9 3,452.22
91 Silt Garfield 3,087 2,930 157 5.36% 1.44 2,143.75
92 Frisco Summit 3,084 2,683 401 14.95% 1.69 1,824.85
93 Orchard City Delta 3,065 3,119 -54 -1.73% 11.41 268.62
Strasburg CDP Adams & Arapahoe 3,027 2,447 580 23.70% 20.8 145.53
94 Walsenburg Huerfano 2,966 3,068 -102 -3.32% 3.17 935.65
95 Timnath Larimer 2,947 625 2,322 371.52% 4.83 610.14
Acres Green CDP Douglas 2,921 3,007 -86 -2.86% 0.6 4,868.33
96 Snowmass Village Pitkin 2,900 2,826 74 2.62% 25.74 112.67
97 Buena Vista Chaffee 2,778 2,617 161 6.15% 3.45 805.22
98 Platteville Weld 2,722 2,485 237 9.54% 2.53 1,075.89
99 Leadville Lake 2,693 2,602 91 3.50% 1.1 2,448.18
100 Palisade Mesa 2,644 2,692 -48 -1.78% 1.14 2,319.30
101 Palmer Lake El Paso 2,637 2,420 217 8.97% 3.09 853.40
102 Bayfield La Plata 2,628 2,333 295 12.64% 1.44 1,825.00
Holly Hills CDP Arapahoe 2,560 2,521 39 1.55% 0.57 4,491.23
Laporte CDP Larimer 2,497 2,450 47 1.92% 6.11 408.67
103 Bennett Adams & Arapahoe 2,488 2,308 180 7.80% 5.56 447.48
104 Telluride San Miguel 2,444 2,325 119 5.12% 0.74 3,302.70
105 Wray Yuma 2,367 2,342 25 1.07% 3.39 698.23
106 Rangely Rio Blanco 2,364 2,365 -1 -0.04% 4.15 569.64
107 Meeker Rio Blanco 2,352 2,475 -123 -4.97% 3.51 670.09
Colorado City CDP Pueblo 2,249 2,193 56 2.55% 13.7 164.16
108 Center Saguache & Rio Grande 2,234 2,230 4 0.18% 0.83 2,691.57
109 Cedaredge Delta 2,220 2,253 -33 -1.46% 1.96 1,132.65
110 Holyoke Phillips 2,213 2,313 -100 -4.32% 2.37 933.76
111 Las Animas Bent 2,207 2,410 -203 -8.42% 1.62 1,362.35
112 Lyons Boulder 2,148 2,033 115 5.66% 1.24 1,732.26
113 La Salle Weld 2,126 1,955 171 8.75% 0.89 2,388.76
114 Limon Lincoln 1,955 1,880 75 3.99% 2.14 913.55
115 Granby Grand 1,916 1,864 52 2.79% 12.76 150.16
Coal Creek CDP Jefferson, Boulder & Gilpin 1,894 2,400 -506 -21.08% 9.39 201.70
116 Hayden Routt 1,874 1,810 64 3.54% 3 624.67
117 Pagosa Springs Archuleta 1,838 1,727 111 6.43% 4.86 378.19
Leadville North CDP Lake 1,815 1,794 21 1.17% 2.55 711.76
118 Olathe Montrose 1,808 1,849 -41 -2.22% 1.45 1,246.90
119 Idaho Springs Clear Creek 1,746 1,717 29 1.69% 2.17 804.61
120 Akron Washington 1,735 1,702 33 1.94% 2.63 659.70
Perry Park CDP Douglas 1,727 1,646 81 4.92% 8.55 201.99
121 Ault Weld 1,683 1,519 164 10.80% 0.79 2,130.38
122 Crested Butte Gunnison 1,604 1,487 117 7.87% 0.84 1,909.52
123 Del Norte Rio Grande 1,598 1,686 -88 -5.22% 1.01 1,582.18
124 Kersey Weld 1,593 1,454 139 9.56% 1.22 1,305.74
125 Hudson Weld 1,585 2,356 -771 -32.72% 4.72 335.81
Alamosa East CDP Alamosa 1,576 1,458 118 8.09% 3.61 436.57
Cascade-Chipita Park CDP El Paso 1,561 1,655 -94 -5.68% 13.5 115.63
126 Nederland Boulder 1,534 1,445 89 6.16% 1.51 1,015.89
127 Kremmling Grand 1,492 1,444 48 3.32% 1.32 1,130.30
128 Mancos Montezuma 1,460 1,336 124 9.28% 0.64 2,281.25
129 Paonia Delta 1,425 1,451 -26 -1.79% 0.85 1,676.47
130 Mountain Village San Miguel 1,415 1,320 95 7.20% 3.38 418.64
131 Columbine Valley Arapahoe 1,406 1,256 150 11.94% 1.02 1,378.43
132 Elizabeth Elbert 1,394 1,358 36 2.65% 1.25 1,115.20
Indian Hills CDP Jefferson 1,380 1,280 100 7.81% 4.68 294.87
133 Springfield Baca 1,378 1,451 -73 -5.03% 1.12 1,230.36
Byers CDP Arapahoe 1,357 1,160 197 16.98% 11.45 118.52
Kittredge CDP Jefferson 1,324 1,304 20 1.53% 1.88 704.26
Aristocrat Ranchettes CDP Weld 1,275 1,344 -69 -5.13% 1.86 685.48
Pine Brook Hill CDP Boulder 1,263 983 280 28.48% 2.92 432.53
Loma CDP Mesa 1,254 1,293 -39 -3.02% 10.89 115.15
134 Fraser Grand 1,252 1,224 28 2.29% 3.54 353.67
135 Julesburg Sedgwick 1,241 1,225 16 1.31% 1.48 838.51
136 Keenesburg Weld 1,200 1,127 73 6.48% 2.24 535.71
137 Cripple Creek Teller 1,175 1,189 -14 -1.18% 1.55 758.06
Aetna Estates CDP Arapahoe 1,165 834 331 39.69% 0.13 8,961.54
Floyd Hill CDP Clear Creek 1,153 998 155 15.53% 5.27 218.79
138 Fowler Otero 1,145 1,182 -37 -3.13% 0.52 2,201.92
Upper Bear Creek CDP Clear Creek 1,143 1,059 84 7.93% 3.79 301.58
139 Parachute Garfield 1,113 1,085 28 2.58% 1.61 691.30
Inverness CDP Arapahoe 1,109 1,532 -423 -27.61% 1.7 652.35
140 Gilcrest Weld 1,085 1,034 51 4.93% 0.82 1,323.17
Keystone CDP Summit 1,067 1,079 -12 -1.11% 40.61 26.27
142 Pierce Weld 1,060 834 226 27.10% 0.82 1,292.68
141 Georgetown Clear Creek 1,060 1,034 26 2.51% 1.06 1,000.00
143 Ordway Crowley 1,049 1,080 -31 -2.87% 0.77 1,362.34
145 Ouray Ouray 1,033 1,000 33 3.30% 0.88 1,173.86
144 Minturn Eagle 1,033 1,027 6 0.58% 7.57 136.46
146 Winter Park Grand 1,029 999 30 3.00% 16.5 62.36

Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division
Release Date: May 2017.

Qualifying for a Home Loan in Colorado

Aerial View of Lakewood, Colorado.

Residents of Colorado have a variety of loan options available to them. Fixed-rate loans are common, including terms of 10, 15, 20, and 30 years. Adjustable-rate mortgages (also known as ARM loans) can be found as well. An interest-only option is available, too.

The most popular type of mortgage in the Centennial State is the 30-year fixed rate loan. Homeowners choose this term because it produces a low monthly payment. However, because the mortgage lasts three decades, the total amount of interest that must be paid throughout the life of the loan is far higher than with a 15-year mortgage. Switching to a shorter term can literally save hundreds of thousands of dollars just in interest.

ARM loans are also common because they have lower initial APR’s than 30-year fixed loans. However, the interest rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage can change (that’s why it’s called an adjustable-rate loan). Typically, the rate goes up after a certain number of years. For example, a 5/1 ARM loan has a fixed rate for 5 years, and then the rate changes once every year for the remaining term. There are also 3/1, 7/1, and 10/1 ARM loans available in Colorado.

Interest-only loans are available in Colorado, although they are less common. Under this scheme, payments are applied for a fixed number of years to interest only, meaning that the principal does not go down. Typically, it is for 3, 5, 7, or 10 years, just like the ARM loans. Once the target date arrives, the mortgage is re-amortized with a variable rate, and all future payments are applied to both interest and principal. This increases the monthly payment, of course. Banks that provide these loans normally require a 20% down payment. They also want to see debt-to-income ratios less than 40%, although many factors are considered on a loan application. These numbers are expected with any credit score.

The piggyback loan is another type of mortgage available to Colorado residents. This is simply two mortgages in one. The piggyback loan can eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance by covering 80% of the home's value with the first loan, while the second loan helps to pay for part of the down payment. This mortgage is a good way to avoid the standard 20% down payment, which is required by most private banks issuing loans.

Relatively high real estate prices around the Denver metro area make a large portion of loans jumbo mortgages, as they exceed the conforming limit. As of 2017 the conforming loan limit across the United States is set to $424,100, with a ceiling of 150% that amount in areas where median home values are higher. Jumbo loans typically have a slightly higher rate of interest than conforming mortgages, though spreads vary based on credit market conditions. Here are the conforming mortgage limits in different areas of the state.

County Metropolitan Area 1 Unit Limit 2 Unit Limit 3 Unit Limit 4 Unit Limit
Adams Denver-Aurora-Lakewood $493,350 $631,550 $763,450 $948,750
Arapahoe Denver-Aurora-Lakewood $493,350 $631,550 $763,450 $948,750
Boulder Boulder $529,000 $677,200 $818,600 $1,017,300
Broomfield Denver-Aurora-Lakewood $493,350 $631,550 $763,450 $948,750
Clear Creek Denver-Aurora-Lakewood $493,350 $631,550 $763,450 $948,750
Denver Denver-Aurora-Lakewood $493,350 $631,550 $763,450 $948,750
Douglas Denver-Aurora-Lakewood $493,350 $631,550 $763,450 $948,750
Eagle Edwards $636,150 $814,500 $984,525 $1,223,475
Elbert Denver-Aurora-Lakewood $493,350 $631,550 $763,450 $948,750
Garfield Glenwood Springs $636,150 $814,500 $984,525 $1,223,475
Gilpin Denver-Aurora-Lakewood $493,350 $631,550 $763,450 $948,750
Hinsdale Non-Metro $427,800 $547,650 $662,000 $822,700
Jefferson Denver-Aurora-Lakewood $493,350 $631,550 $763,450 $948,750
Lake Non-Metro $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
Ouray Non-Metro $425,500 $544,700 $658,450 $818,250
Park Denver-Aurora-Lakewood $493,350 $631,550 $763,450 $948,750
Pitkin Glenwood Springs $636,150 $814,500 $984,525 $1,223,475
Routt Steamboat Springs $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
San Miguel Non-Metro $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
Summit Breckenridge $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925

Government Funding Programs

Borrowers who don’t qualify under these standards might find better deals through government programs. The Veterans Administration, for example, assists former members of the armed forces in acquiring necessary financing. A VA loan is sponsored by a private home loan company, although the VA insures the mortgage. Remarkably, the VA does not require any down payment.

The Federal Housing Administration also provides mortgage services. Unlike the VA, the FHA does require a down payment, although it is only 3.5% with a credit score of 580 or higher. Borrowers with lower scores can still get by with only putting 10% down, half the amount a private-sector mortgage company requires. The FHA does require insurance premiums on any loan that has a down payment less than 20%.

USDA loans can help people with low incomes in rural parts of the state qualify for a subsidized low-interest loan.

The state government operates the Housing Choice Voucher Program in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There are a variety of housing options available to low-income families through the state’s program.

Natural Disasters

Flood Insurance

Homeowner's insurance policies typically do not cover flooding. Most of the state of Colorado is considered to have a very low flooding risk. Montrose county has a low flooding risk. Boulder, Clear Creek, Eagle, Fremont, Gunnison, La Plata & Rio Grande counties have a moderate flooding risk.

Home buyers with mortgages in high-risk areas are required to buy flood insurance. Most flood insurance policies are sold by the United States federal government through The National Flood Insurance Program. Under-priced flood insurance in high-risk areas act as a subsidy to wealthy homeowners.

The NFIP does not charge nearly enough to cover the expected costs of its liabilities. The assessments are not sufficient to build any buffer to cover an extraordinary year, such as what occurred with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 or Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Because homeowners don€™t incur the full cost of building in a flood zone we end up with more houses there than if homeowners incurred the full cost of the flood risk, which exacerbates the government€™s costs in the next disaster.

Homeowners who live in lower risk areas & are not required to purchase flood insurance heavily cross-subsidize homeowners who are in areas where floods are more common.

Earthquakes

Colorado has a low earthquake risk, with the risk jumping to moderate along the central portion of the area of the state near the southern border. Standard rental and homeowner insurance policies typically do not cover earthquake damage, though they usually cover losses caused by fires which resulted from an earthquake. You can supplement your homeowner's insurance with an earthquake policy.

Tornadoes

The eastern portion of the state is considered to have a moderate tornado risk. A basic homeowners policy should cover financial damages from tornadoes.

Hail

Hail damage is common across the eastern half of the state. Damage from hail is typically covered by home insurance policies.

Laws Particular to the Centennial State

Aerial View of Downtown Fort Collins, Colorado.

Property Taxes

According to the largest newspaper in the Centennial State, The Denver Post, home owners in Colorado pay one of the lowest property taxes in the nation. In 2016, the effective tax rate assessed against single-family homes was just 0.52%. This is less than half the national average of 1.15%. The 0.52% figure is a state average. Residents in Grand Junction paid on average just 42 basis points, while Denver was the most expensive city at 0.56%. On average, single-family home owners paid $2,046 in property taxes in 2016.

The Gallagher Amendment was added to Colorado’s constitution in 1982. It limits the amount of property tax the government can collect from residential properties to just 45% of its total real estate tax revenue. The other 55% must come from commercial properties. The 45/55 ratio is set at the state level, meaning that some cities could be far from this figure.

Foreclosures

Colorado is a recourse state. This means a lender can pursue a variety of assets owned by a borrower if the borrower defaults on the mortgage. Foreclosures operate outside of the judicial system. Under Colorado law, lenders have the right to file a lawsuit after a nonjudicial foreclosure if a property’s market value isn’t enough to cover the remaining balance on the mortgage.

Additional Resources

The Centennial State has a strong property market that blew through the Great Recession without a hitch. The state has a strong economy with good income levels, but above-average home prices may put larger residences out of reach for some buyers. For additional information on the housing market in the Centennial State, browse through the following sites: