Where to Buy (Even) Now
Sure, things are tough around Denver, but good options exist—if you know where to look. We've found 14 neighborhoods offering safe bets in a shaky market. Plus, real estate insiders dish on up-and-coming areas where deals abound.
Highland & West Highland
Boundaries: West 38th Avenue, I-25, West 29th Avenue/Speer Boulevard, Sheridan Boulevard
The Neighborhood: Perched atop the hill that rises to the northwest of downtown, the broad expanse generally called the Highland neighborhood has become Denver's "it" spot over the past five years. Blocks of mostly small- to medium-size bungalows radiate from Highland Square, the bustling town center of the area, home to restaurants, boutiques, and spas. Singletons, couples, and young families gravitate to the newly hip 'hood, taking advantage of its walkability and delighting in neighborhood renewal gone right. Houses on streets closest to the square fetch higher prices. Hayward Street garners high praise and high prices, possibly because it's not a through street, which cuts down on traffic. As 38th develops, housing on the far north boundary of the neighborhood should also appreciate.
Why It's a Safe Bet: Proximity to downtown, strong neighborhood organizations that arrange community festivals and band together to oppose businesses like Wal-Mart, and a main square anchor. Plus, Highland has developed an identity with which people connect—and that they desire.
Average Sale Price: $305,011; 4 percent increase from 2006 to 2007
Meet a Neighbor: Lois Harvey
Co-owner, West Side Books
Neighborhood Resident: 27 years
Loves: "You can pretty much get anything you need in a one-mile radius. There are the coffee shops Common Grounds and Peaberry's, and I go to the TK name (Pasquini's?) pizza shop for Friday night pizza. (Doesn't everybody?) The other thing is you recognize people by sight or name when you're walking down the street. I sort of feel like Highland is a small town in a big city."
Doesn't Love: "Parking. I do notice that my back roadways are more congested. Also, I'm not so keen on the scrape-and-build-out-to-the-edge-of-the-property thing that's happening. There used to be a community feeling with people out working in their gardens. Now there's less sense of shared space.
Advice to Prospective Buyers: "Plan on staying here 20 years. People here are friendly and they are going to talk to you. If you just move in and move out, you're not going to get it. It's not just a property value thing."
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