What it’s ACTUALLY like living in Denver

What it’s ACTUALLY like living in Denver

Here it goes.

I’ve officially lived in Denver for 1 year… so it’s time to talk about it! And let me tell you, this little city is growing up. I moved here from Los Angeles in late 2016 for what many of us refer to as a “lifestyle change”. I had visited Denver a handful of times to see friends from college. And in my eyes, Denver had it all: a laid-back vibe, an affordable lifestyle, activities galore, friendly neighbors, and reasonable home prices. I’ll get to that last part in a little bit. Here’s a recap of my first year in Denver!

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For the most part, my presumptions were correct. Denver is absolutely booming in terms of population, business, trendy restaurants, traffic, construction, and real estate. From what I can tell it’s all because of the people. Denver has peaked as one of the most desirable cities to live in the US for young adults. It’s not that difficult to see why- seasonal sports, friendly people, city-life, country-life, and pretty much whatever else you want. That’s why Denver has been one of the fastest growing cities in the nation over the past few years.

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Of course, a growing population means more businesses are moving here (hi, Google), better restaurants, craft breweries, and more attractions (ahem, Top Golf). And I’ll be the first to tell you, the food scene here is exceptional.

With this comes some harsh realities. Like pricing. Food prices are pretty much comparable to what I endured in LA. Drinks are slightly more reasonable. Gas is cheaper. So there’s that.

With more folks mean more cars, and therefore more traffic. I heard horror stories from Denver residents about the “horrible traffic” they have been faced with over the past 5 years. The reality is that for the most part, it’s avoidable. Yes, I-25 at rush hour is no joke. Just use your Waze app and find a way to go around it. As an 8-year LA resident I can confidently say that Denver traffic is manageable.

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Let's do it again this weekend. #Denver

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Another harsh Denver reality is the construction. At first glance, a dozen cranes filling the Denver skyline seems great. “Hey- they’re building tons of new places to live!” or “The housing market will go down because the supply will even out with demand!” Hold up.

Over the past few years construction in Denver has been INSANE. Like whole new neighborhoods have popped up out of nowhere. When I first moved here, there was construction on three sides of my house. In my opinion, it’s not great. Hasty construction equals poor building and cookie-cutter condos. Most new housing construction are lookalike condos that are taking over homey neighborhoods. Do I want a bunch of renters peering into my backyard? No thanks. What all this construction also means is a massive gentrification issue. Lower-income families are being run out of town so dang fast they barely know what happened.

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So what IS real estate like in Denver? Great question. I moved to Denver with my sights set on buying my first home. In my mind, Denver HAD to be more affordable than what my friends were paying back in Manhattan Beach, CA. And I was right, but not that right. Home prices are less than California standards but are also soaring right now, with buyers snatching up affordable Denver homes… within hours.

Can you be more specific? Sure thing. I currently rent a 2 bedroom 1,800 sq ft home in the up-and-coming neighborhood Sloan’s Lake for $2,500. To me, that’s a pretty good deal. Home prices average around $500k depending on what you want and where you want it. If you want a brand new condo, you’re looking at $400k. If you want a 3 bedroom home in a decent neighborhood you’re looking at $700k.

So how much house can I afford? Also a great question. It’s easy to find out, just click here.

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All of this said, I DO think Denver is an awesome place to live. Gone are the days of wearing flip flops to bars as the city has been infiltrated with LA and NYC folks, but the good news is that Denver is still hanging on to a tinge of mid-western charm.

Would YOU ever consider moving to Denver? Have a question about living in Denver?

Comment below and I’ll hit ya back.

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