Our annual guide to the hottest 'hoods in town (look closely, there are some surprises in there). PLUS: The changing definition of "location, location, location," four things to do when looking for a Realtor, and why now is (perhaps) the best time to buy in a generation.
One of the few neighborhoods in this exclusive part of town where prices actually appreciated in the past year. This lush oasis (think ranch-style homes and quiet streets that don't conform to the city's grid) in central Denver draws a higher-end dweller—primarily families and empty-nesters with the taste and income for the finer things. Still, Belcaro offers relative bargains to luxury-market homebuyers, although sellers should be patient: Listed homes spent 183 days on market (DOM) last year, compared to a citywide average of 97.
Average sale price $845,000
+8% over 2009
Washington Park West
This slightly hipper, grittier alternative to Wash Park East (average sale price: $654,000) has all the access to its neighbor's amenities, but at a far lower cost. This primarily residential neighborhood is surrounded by numerous retail districts, whether new (Pearl Street, north of I-25) or revitalizing (South Broadway). Lately, more young couples and families have been landing in the area to take advantage of its leafy streets, reasonably priced housing that hasn't been as overwhelmed by scrapes and duplexes as have some of its neighbors, and, of course, the neighborhood's biggest draw, Wash Park itself, which teems with activity even during the chilly winter months.
Average sale price $395,000
+1% over 2009
The Highland boom spreads north and west as Denverites take advantage of the area's easy access to I-70 and the mountains, along with the ongoing development of the Tennyson Street corridor. The Regis University campus, the funky-cool old-school Lakeside Amusement Park, and lots of green space and architecturally interesting new or remodeled homes make these adjacent 'hoods most attractive to couples and young families who might be priced out of Highland but still want to be close to the action of Highlands Square and the 32nd Avenue and Zuni intersection.
Average sale price (Berkeley) $283,000, +8% over 2009
Average sale price (Regis) $212,000, +11% over 2009
Park Hill East
The low prices and proximity to City Park, bike trails, and the rest of Park Hill have made this neighborhood of well-kept, single-family Tudors and bungalows an attractive, affordable alternative to other east-side areas such as Hale and Hilltop. PHE is dotted with small shopping districts and a variety of quaint restaurants serving Italian, Thai, soul food, breakfast—you name it. With quick access to shopping in Stapleton, this neighborhood will appeal to anyone looking for an entry- or mid-level home that's bound to appreciate over the next several years.
Average sale price $204,000
+5% over 2009