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.
We've been touting this neighborhood for years as an up-and-comer, and it's finally arriving as a focal point for homebuyers who want to get in on the northwest Denver boom. True, it's a bit grittier than its more expensive neighbors, but it lures cutting-edge types who are willing to endure the "refinement" process rather than wait until everything has been upgraded (and potentially overpriced). Sunnyside's unusually affordable homes—lots of modest bungalows—mean inventory is low, so buyers must be prepared to act fast.
Average sale price $181,000
+13% over 2009
Sloan's Lake West
Between the burgeoning Edgewater commercial district, Sloan's Lake East, and Highland, the area around Denver's biggest lake is fast becoming the go-to 'hood for people who want quiet surroundings with easy access to downtown, northwest Denver's shopping and nightlife, or quick mountain getaways. The lake itself—which not long ago was a place to avoid after dark—has become a landing spot for joggers, boaters, and water skiers, and the sleepy surrounding streets make the neighborhood attractive to families with children.
Average sale price $341,000
+9% over 2009
This cozy enclave still has a rich Latino heritage and provides a lower-cost option—with equal access to northwest Denver's amenities and striking views of downtown—than the more established Highland neighborhood to the north. The Speer and I-25 borders funnel traffic around the area rather than through it, which makes the streets surprisingly quiet, day and night, and many of the modest homes are ripe for remodeling or flipping. Despite the area's proximity to Invesco, the chaos is minimal on football Sundays thanks to a well-run traffic-management plan, and JP's average of 46 DOM shows how quickly its properties are moving.
Average sale price $260,000
+9% over 2009
Congress Park South
Along with its neighbor Congress Park North, this was one of the few areas in central Denver where values appreciated last year. One of downtown Denver's first "suburbs," CPS is now one of the oldest and most desirable and vibrant neighborhoods in the city, with many remodeled Victorian-era homes. It has become a vortex around which couples, families young and old, hipsters, and yuppie singletons revolve. The 'hood is also near the quietly luxurious Cheesman Park and Denver Botanic Gardens, giving the whole area a neighborly, walkable—yet still urban—feel.
Average sale price $445,000
+9% over 2009