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.
Boundaries: Douglas County Line, Quebec Street, Santa Fe Boulevard, Daniels Park
The Neighborhood: People talk about Highlands Ranch as if it's one big subdivision, a neighborhood of cookie-cutter homes awash in beige. But Highlands Ranch, an unincorporated community of nearly 90,000, is so much more—especially if you're raising a family. Nearly half of Highlands Ranch households have children under the age of 18. Which means the housing—mostly larger, new-build homes with backyards located in subdivision formats—suits the needs of families with teenagers who want their own rooms and triplets whose toys would take over your average bungalow. The rewards of living in Highlands Ranch—safe streets, superior schools, big-box stores on every corner, bigger homes for less money—outweigh the often-talked-about downsides like suburban sprawl.
Why It's a Safe Bet: People will always have families—and families often need more space than an inner-city home affords. Plus, schools like Highlands Ranch High School, Mountain Ridge Middle School, and Fox Creek Elementary School rank high-to-excellent.
Average Sale Price: $319,000 (average of Redstone and Coyote Creek); 1.5 percent increase from '06 to '07
Meet a Neighbor: Claudia Ullevig
Adult Services Department Head, Highlands Ranch Library
Neighborhood Resident: 23 years
Loves: "The rec centers are a great resource. Also, I like the way the neighborhood is laid out. There are parks and trails, and wide streets, like University [Boulevard], which means that the traffic flow is pretty decent."
Doesn't Love: "I don't like having to ask the Home Owners Association for approval on the color I paint my house. That bugs me. I mean even if I'm painting my house the same color, I have to get approval. I'd rather they paid attention to weeds in public spaces."
Advice to Prospective Buyers: "If you really mind Big Brother watching you, then you shouldn't live here. It just depends what you can put up with, because Douglas County also has a great school system."
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