1 year of COVID: Front Range homes got more expensive during pandemic

Data Desk

DENVER (KDVR) — The COVID-19 heightened a longstanding issue with Colorado housing – there isn’t enough and it’s become quite expensive.

Colorado has gained a million people in the past 20 years, including more than 700,000 in just the past decade. This trend continued throughout the pandemic as the state’s mountains and sunshine drew migrants. Denver was the eighth most popular COVID-19 migrant destination in the country, according to Bloomberg.

The median sales price for a single family home in Front Range cities and counties grew 9.2% on average over the pandemic. The average time to sell, meanwhile, is now half as long as it was a year ago.

With even more demand than the hot pre-pandemic market, home prices have climbed even faster than usual. The Denver Metro Association of Realtors keeps monthly market reports on the cities and counties in the area. Every one of them seems destined for sky-high prices in the years to come.

Of nearly 50 cities and counties tracked, only three did not see the median sales price of a single family home go up – Clear Creek County, Idaho Springs and Castle Pines.

Throughout the Front Range, median housing prices for a single family home rose by an average 9.2% through 2020. The time each spent on sales listings before it sold dropped an average 43% – it only takes an average 27 days to sell a home in Colorado 2021.

Denver’s bedroom counties – Adams, Arapahoe and Jefferson – each saw an increase along with Denver.

In the City and County of Denver, median prices rose 11% to $500,611. Adams County’s rose 11% to $434,500, Arapahoe County’s rose 9%Z to $470,150 and Jefferson County’s rose 16% to $550,000.

Only two communities – Clear Creek County and Northglenn – have a median home price of less than $400,000.

Renters had more luck with housing prices.

Many cities saw rent go down during 2020 as fewer and fewer people saw the upsides to a locked-down city life. Furthermore, renters were more likely than homeowners to have jobs that statewide business restrictions would cancel. Some, including Colorado, put emergency restrictions on evictions.

As such, the median rental price for half of the Front Range went down during 2020 while others went up.

Denver itself saw the largest drop in the rental price of an average 1 bedroom apartment throughout 2020 among Colorado’s Front Range cities. This February, a one bedroom apartment cost 5.1% less than it did a year ago – even though at $1,263 that apartment still costs well above the national average.

Interstate 70-adjacent cities were in general more likely to see a decrease in rent. Boulder, Broomfield, Lakewood and Arvada all saw average rental prices go down during the pandemic.

Cities farther east – Thornton, Westminster, Aurora, Highlands Ranch and Littleton – saw average rent go up.

Littleton’s rent went up most, now costing 3.2% more than last February.

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