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: Neighborhoods west of C-470 and the Dakota Hogback
The Neighborhood: Tucked into the base of the foothills just on the western side of the Dakota Hogback ridge rest the neighborhoods of Ken-Caryl Valley. A combination of newer and older homes, the valley attracts families and couples of the outdoorsy persuasion. Miles and miles of hiking, biking, and horseback trails wind their way through nearly 4,800 acres of adjacent open space, which is home to deer herds, turkeys, coyotes, grouse, elk, and even mountain lions and black bears. Enveloped by Ken-Caryl Valley are at least 20 different neighborhoods, of which North Ranch, Barrington Ridge, and Manor Ridge remain the most highly sought-after for their larger lots that melt into open space and custom homes with spacious floor plans. The master-planned community also offers playgrounds, ball fields, swimming pools, and an equestrian center. Although there are plenty of housing options east of the Hogback ridge, housing in the valley maintains its appeal, mostly due to its striking geography.
Why It's a Safe Bet: Yes, it's 20 miles from downtown Denver, but your backyard isn't just near the foothills—it is the foothills. Plus, Jeffco schools dot the rolling landscape, C-470 takes you where you want to go quickly, and there's a scarcity of buildable land due to the surrounding open space.
Average Sale Price: $564,000; 5 percent increase from 2006 to 2007
Meet a Neighbor: Pat Karns
Managing Partner, Colorado Pure Distilling and Athletic Trainer
Neighborhood Resident: 9 years
Loves: "There's really only one thing: the serenity. You drive behind the Hogbacks, the rock ridge that juts out from Golden, and you're away from everything. When you drive into the valley, it's like a breath of fresh air. You learn to co-exist with coyotes and elk."
Doesn't Love: "Because of the separation [from the city], you have a slight temperature change. It's like a wind tunnel, when it gets blowing back there. Also, you are tucked away. You drive five to seven minutes for what everyone else drives a minute."
Advice to Prospective Buyers: "Cash in your country club membership and buy a mountain bike. Trade in your frou-frou dog for a golden retriever. You are going to walk. Almost all my neighbors would rather be biking with their kids than playing golf."