Calling 2020 a topsy-turvy year is, well, putting things politely. But it’s pretty apt when it comes to Denver real estate. Though the market shows no signs of cooling—and housing supply remains severely limited—we saw a lot of shifting on this, our third-annual top neighborhoods list; perceived mainstays like Highland and University Hills fell off, only to be replaced by unexpected, but more affordable, areas such as Athmar Park. We get it: People want to live in Denver. We’re home to plenty of sunshine, a killer restaurant and bar and music scene, and cutting-edge companies, not to mention our proximity to those oh-so-pretty Rocky Mountains.
Making the decision to move to Denver is easy. Figuring out where in the Mile High City to live has only grown more challenging. That’s why we did the heavy lifting for you. We evaluated all 78 Denver neighborhoods through our livability formula (see “The Process” below), which takes into account home values, school quality, safety, and those distinctive aspects that set a place apart (cultural offerings, food access, bike-ability, open spaces, etc.). The result: the 25 best places to live now—and what eateries, shops, and more you can enjoy near your new home once you’re settled.
How we developed our 25 Best Neighborhoods list.
Our ranking uses four variables: home prices, crime data, school rankings, and an X factor score that accounts for things that can’t be easily quantified, such as access to open space, nearby public transportation, and the prevalence of restaurants and shops. Each category is weighted: 30 percent for year-over-year percentage increase in home values; 25 percent for safety; 15 percent for neighborhood school ratings; and 30 percent for the X factor. Our initial list of 78 neighborhoods (that was whittled down to 76, as you’ll read below) is based on the city of Denver’s official map, which is why, for example, you won’t see LoHi mentioned (officially, it’s part of Highland, not its own neighborhood—even though locals would disagree).
- Average home sale prices were provided by REcolorado. Percentage increases reflect the change in average sale prices from 2019 to 2020. Two Denver neighborhoods did not have statistics available or had five or fewer sales in 2020 and thus were excluded from consideration.
- Crime data—the total number of crimes reported in each neighborhood in 2020—come from the Denver Police Department and are based on National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) definitions. The figures were then adjusted per capita using population statistics from the American Community Survey’s (ACS) 2015-’19 neighborhood data. (Demographic information for each neighborhood was also pulled from the ACS.)
- School ratings were taken from Denver Public Schools’ School Performance Framework (SPF) for the 2018-’19 school year. This is the most recent data available because standardized testing was cancelled during the 2019-’20 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We averaged the SPF scores for the public schools in each neighborhood: Five was the highest score (correlating to “Distinguished” in the SPF report); one was the lowest (“Accredited on Probation” in the report). For areas that did not have schools within their boundaries, we averaged the ratings of the schools in adjacent neighborhoods. Schools that closed in 2019 or 2020 were excluded.
- We awarded each neighborhood an X factor rating on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest).
Find What You Need
Quick links to find Denver's best
|Neighborhood||Rank||Population;||2020 Average Sale Price||New Listings in 2020||Real Estate Rank||Schools Score||Crime Rank||X Factor Score|
|South Park Hill||3||9,546||$735,628||96||30||4.3||9||8|
|Washington Park West||4||7,798||$697,991||174||9||3||27||9|
|City Park West||14||5,339||$633,822||97||5||3||65||8|
|Harvey Park South||17||9,638||$443,980||44||25||4||15||4|
|Washington Virginia Vale||19||14,793||$484,536||122||35||3.6||20||5.5|
- Country Club
- South Park Hill
- Washington Park West
- Platt Park
- Washington Park
- Congress Park
- Sloan Lake
- City Park
- West Highland
- Five Points
- City Park West
- University Park
- Athmar Park
- Harvey Park South
- Washington Virginia Vale
- Barnum West
- Harvey Park
- Virginia Village
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