Real Estate 2014: Buying in the 'Burbs

April 24 2014, 5:05 PM

Every May, 5280 publishes its annual guide to local real estate. This year’s edition lands on newsstands Friday, and it features a roundup of the hottest city neighborhoods, tips for buyers and sellers, and updates on what has become a simmering but occasionally confounding local market.

Which brings us to the suburbs. Many people migrate from cities to these outlying areas, in part, to escape the urban chaos. Unfortunately, in 2014, the Front Range housing outlook remains tough all over for buyers. For exhibit A, look no farther than Louisville. (Our print guide reviews several suburbs in all directions from Denver.) Louisville might be the most desirable suburb of all, given its regular presence on national “best places to live” lists, and its real estate reflects that.

According to Jessica Whitehall, a broker associate with Boulevard Real Estate Services who specializes in the area, extreme bidding wars have broken out recently in this quaint hamlet. “Anything under $400,000 has been getting 30 to 40 showings and 10 to 15 competing offers within a day of hitting the market,” she says, adding that this is true even of older homes that have quirky or “undesirable” floor plans.

If you want to stretch your price range to that $400,000 mark (and are lucky or savvy enough to win said bidding war), you’ll get a 2,000-square-foot older home—built in the 1980s or earlier—with three bedrooms and baths that “probably needs some fixing up,” Whitehall says. (Read: Be prepared to spend even more if you want to open up a floor plan or get a high-end bathroom or kitchen).

One alternative to Louisville might be one town over in Superior. (Looking one town over is a good rule of thumb for any high-demand ‘burb.) Here, you’ll get more square footage, a newer house with a more livable floor plan, and maybe even a garage—and you can do it all without leaving Louisville’s highly ranked school district.

Until more housing inventory hits this historically scarce market, this sort of adjacency is what buyers will have to consider—even if they aren’t looking in the city’s most popular areas.

Follow 5280 articles editor Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock.