Friday, December 20, 2013

Fed: By End of 2014, Stimulus Will Be Over

The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it would begin gradually winding down its bond-buying stimulus program next month. 
The Fed has been purchasing $85 billion per month in Treasury and mortgage-backed securities. In January, it will reduce its purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion, and then curtail purchases each month afterward. By the end of next year, the Fed plans to end the monthly purchases completely. 
In the last year, the Fed has purchased more than $1 trillion in Treasury and mortgage-backed securities. Fed officials have said the purchases have helped to reduce borrowing costs, and it credits the program for helping to contribute to an improving housing market. 
The Fed said that it plans to hold short-term interest rates near zero, and any rises likely would not come until the the end of 2015. 
Both policies are aimed at holding down borrowing costs. 
Previously, the Fed had said it would keep short-term interest rates near zero until the unemployment rate fell to a certain level. But the Fed announced Wednesday that short-term interest rates would stay near zero “well past the time that the unemployment rate declines below 6.5 percent.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

4 Staging Tips for Sellers During Winter

Winter is here! Be prepared to put a bit more effort in selling your home given the unpredictable weather. Good news is that most buyers looking in the winter are serious enough about finding a new home at a time most people would rather stay inside. And anyway, you can heat up the chances of selling your home in winter with smart staging strategies. Here are a few tips to make your home sparkle in the snow:

1) Start with the exterior and clear a path
This will be the first tip an agent can give you. As with any time of the year, make sure that your home looks well maintained and cared for. Just like trimming the lawn in the summer, you should keep the snow and ice at bay in the winter. If a potential buyer can’t get easily (or if he even falls), then expect that the house won’t sell. Always, always make sure that the walkways are safe. Curb appeal is very important, first impressions last!

2) Take advantage of the holiday season – DECORATE!
Make it festive but don’t go overboard! Elegant holiday decorations can add festivity to your home. A simple wreath, twinkling lights, or lightly scented holiday candles can make buyers feel welcome and lift up their spirits. Your home should be as inviting as possible so buyers can envision living in your home.

3) Warm it up
Warm and cozy is the key! Before the buyer sees your home, adjust the thermostat to a comfortable level – between 67 and 70 degrees. Do not light candles and start the fireplace for obvious safety reasons. Instead, you can highlight a functional fireplace. If possible, turn on all the lights.  Even during the day – winter days can provide dim lighting.  Pull back the drapes to let as much natural light as possible.  Let’s face it – nice natural light and warmth will help your home make a better presentation.  

4) Make it festive
Lastly, winter is the prime time for festive parties. Showcase the entertaining possibilities of your home by setting the dinner table with good china and silver. You would want to reflect the possibilities your home has for entertaining guests. Have a plate of cookies ready for your guests, or even some warm cider and hot coffee if the weather is cold.
There’s no reason to wait until spring before you sell your home.  As an expert, I can help you sell your home even on the grayest days. Call me so I can discuss my marketing strategies and how we can take advantage of the holiday season to get you a premium price for your house.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

7 Pre-Winter Maintenance Tips!

1. Replace your furnace filter.
 You don't want you and your family to be breathing old dust and other bad stuff throughout the Winter. It will also make your furnace more efficient. Also have your heating system serviced by a professional, to make sure it's operating efficiently!
2. Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, to make sure they are actively working & safe. 
3. Consider having a fire extinguisher available in your kitchen. There are many fires during Winter 
4. Want to save 20% on utility bills AND stay warm? Put weather stripping on outside doors, and caulk all windows and frames to cut down on drafts.
5. Roof check: Make sure your roof is in good shape by looking for any missing or loose shingles - you don't want a leak from ice and snow! 

6. Blow out your sprinklers, and drain garden hoses and store them inside. Also shut off outdoor water valves in cold weather. Any water left in exterior pipes and faucets can freeze and expand breaking the pipes.

7. Porches & decks: Check the supports, stairs, and railings. Make sure the handrails can support someone slipping on snow or ice! 
Send me an email for more maintenance tips or handyman referrals in case you don't have the time to do this kind of stuff!

Homes over $500,000 selling like 'hotcakes'

                                                     Home on 2925 4TH St, Boulder,  
                                                       sold for $1.46MM last month

In the last 30 days, 268 homes and 35 luxury condos sold over $500,000 to buyers in the metro Denver and Boulder area. According to MLS data, 
40 of these sales were over $1 million!In the last 30 days, 268 homes and 35 luxury condos sold over $500,000 to buyers in the metro Denver and Boulder area. According to MLS data, 40 of these sales were over $1 million!

What is interesting is that several of these recent sales had buyers walking away with purchases $20,000-$100,000 less than asking prices. Buyers feel that they are getting great deals, and sellers are happy their homes are selling!

When Rent is High, Time to Buy: Renting vs. Buying, Objections & a Case Study

Vacancy rates have never been lower in the history Denver, which simply means that landlords are having a heyday increasing rents on tenants. 

Some people still have fears about home-buying, such as, "What if the roof falls in? What if the furnace breaks? I have to pay for everything!" Or simply, "What if I can't pay my mortgage one month?!" These objections and fears are normal. But to really answer them, we have to get the big picture, and look at renting vs. buying.

1) "What if the roof falls in? What if the furnace breaks?!"
Easy: we get a home inspection. Buyers get a home inspection while they are under contract, which inspects the home from top to bottom--from roof down to the furnace--and everything in between. If anything comes up, we can ask the seller to fix it, or even give you a homebuyer's warranty, which covers everything in the home for the first year (and can be renewed). If we cannot come to an agreement with the seller, we can simply exit the contract and look for another home in better condition. PS - there is also roof insurance!

2) "What if I can't pay my mortgage one month?"
That would mean you can't pay rent for one month either. Believe me, landlords are much stricter than banks. If a tenant is 1 week late on rent, most landlords file for eviction, which can end up on your criminal record. Banks often give 15 days or more grace period for a payment, and charge a relatively small late fee if you are late. But the truth is, renters still have to pay monthly rent, which is more expensive than a mortgage right now.

3) "I don't want more debt!" 
Distinction: There is such thing between good debt and bad debt. Bad debt, like credit cards, only buries you more in the hole. Good debt, like a home loan actually puts you in a situation where you can leverage "other people's money"(bank) to make money for yourself. How? 

Case Study:
Say you rent a house for 5 years at $1200/month. In 5 years you will spend $72,000 in rent paying your landlord's mortgage, and never ever see that money again. 

But say you buy a house for 5 years. If you spend $7,000 on a downpayment (sidenote: 0% downpayment programs for qualified buyers are back!), and say your total payment is also $1200/month. And let's say, to play really conservative, your house goes down in value by $20,000 in 5 years (which is just about impossible if you buy smart!). You can still sell it, get your $7,000 downpayment back, and pay off the mortgage and closing fees. Basically you just saved $72,000 you would have paid in rent. And if your house goes up in value, you make even more money. You can also rent it out and have passive income. The options are endless!

Real estate is one of the easiest ways to financial security and wealth simply because you are ALREADY paying rent, so it is not an extra investment. 

Check out Trulia's Rent vs. Buy Calculator to see how much you would be saving if you bought a home!

Let me run some numbers for your neighborhood! Just email me!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Is the Market Slowing Down?

I've gotten this question quite a bit in the last few weeks. And it's a great question that is relevant to both buyers and sellers. If the market is "slowing down" (meaning less sales, which cause prices to go down), buyers could have an advantage and get good deals. Sellers on the other hand might have to reduce their prices or wait longer for buyers. This is basically what happened from 2008 to 2011. Lots of homes for sale, and very few buyers wanting to buy (though it was the bottom of the market! Hindsight is always 20/20). 

The best way to gauge a market is to find out how many homes have sold in the most recent month, and how many homes are currently available on the market (this is called Absorption Rate). Right now there are about 11,288 homes and condos on the market according to the MLS - which is more than in September. Last month 4,730 homes and condos sold.  This means that it would only take 2.3 months for all the current inventory to be sold, and that is still what would be called a "fast" market, but with more inventory. The average days a home is on the market in September was 39, which is also still blazing speed. 

The market was so hot from January to August that almost anything seems "cold" compared to it - the speed of sound seems "slow" compared to the speed of light. We never reached higher home prices in Metro Denver than we did around June.

Let me say that again: Home prices in Metro Denver a few months ago were even higher than the bubble in 2004! Wow! (Note: interest rates were around 6% in 2004, so the affordability was still much better in 2013.)  So though it's "slowing down" from a few months ago, it's still a pretty hot market.

This plays well for both buyers and sellers:

Looking to Buy? Things are "slowing down" right now compared to how blazing fast the market was from January to August. This means less competition, a bit more bargaining room on prices, and more options of homes for sale. Interest rates also went back down to 3.75% again, after getting close to 5% last month!

Looking to Sell? The market is still historically high, but isn't as blazing hot is it was earlier this year, which means that though you may not sell your home in 2 days, according to the numbers you'll still get about 8% more in price than if you sold this time last year, and about 17% more than in 2011. The average days on market are also still only 39 days, which is historically lightning fast.  

-The Denver House Guy

Monday, October 7, 2013

Government Shutdown Pushes Mortgage Rates Down

As a result of the federal government shutdown, fixed mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week, Freddie Mac reports, ending at their lowest averages in nearly 4 months.
Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Oct. 3: 
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.22 percent, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 4.32 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.36 percent. 
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.29 percent, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 3.37 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.69 percent. 
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.03 percent, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 3.07 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.72 percent. 
  • 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.63 percent, with an average 0.4 point, holding the same as last week. A year ago at this time, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.57 percent.

Don't wait for rates to go back up!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mortgage Rates Take a Dip!

Mortgage rates took another dip this week thanks to the Federal Reserve's decision to stay the course on the stimulus bond-purchasing program.

The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.25 percent from 4.66 percent last week, according to the national survey of large lenders. That is GREAT news! The mortgages in this week's survey had an average total of 0.33 discount and origination points. One year ago, that rate stood at 3.55 percent. Four weeks ago, it was 4.62 percent.

The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.53 percent this week, compared to 3.7 percent last week, and the benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.41 from 3.55 percent. The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate jumbo fell to 4.125 percent from 4.77 percent!

This is great news for buyers needing a  loan, but also for sellers since higher mortgage rates can affect the speed and price at which their home sells. Don't hesitate to take advantage of these amazing rates. You may regret it if rates go up!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

10 Ways Using The Denver House Guy Will MAKE You Money (and save you ridiculous amounts of stress)

  1. Buyers don't pay me a dime.
If you're a buyer, it's completely FREE to receive all of The Denver House Guy's services, including representation, negotiation, consultation, contracts, showings, and protection on your behalf during the transaction.
  1. I've saved both my buyers and sellers an average of $8,300 per deal, adding up to over $325,000.
How? Through proper negotiation and contract strategies. There are several different ways and times to negotiate during the buying and selling process. Part of those negotiations is knowing the value of the home to make a good offer, but also the legal ins and outs of all the Colorado real estate contracts and all the different ways to save money right there in the contract, which can be easy to misunderstand, and add up to over 50 pages of legal jargon.
You don’t want to know how many classes and deals I’ve completed in the last 8 years to get to know all the Colorado real estate contracts and disclosures. I also add legal language to protect you. Lone buyers, sellers, and inexperienced agents do not know how to take advantage of the contract as The Denver House Guy does.
  1. Buyers and sellers talking directly is never a good idea!            
I've seen both buyers and sellers stick their foot in their mouth after saying the wrong thing, giving away too much information, or engaging in heated arguments, consequently costing them thousands of dollars or the entire deal, confessing, "Jonathan, I didn't mean to say that!"
For example, because it’s their home, sellers often attach too much emotion to the deal and can get offended easily, or say the wrong thing, like,
“You’re offering me what?! Absolutely not!”
“Fix the roof? My roof is fine, we’ve never had problems!”
Or buyers: “Sorry but we would NEVER pay that much! That is ridiculous!” ”
My job as a Realtor is to buffer the emotional zone and represent my clients to the other party and translate their impassioned pleas in a reasonable, polite, and professional manner, while at the same time always protecting my client’s interest using real estate law and negotiation.

  1. Realtors deal with all third-parties of the transaction for you, including the different inspectors, the title company, third-party vendors, repairmen, lenders, the showing company, the other realtor in the transaction, the HOA, and any other third-party necessary to close the deal (including sometimes attorneys and the City and County). Even an expensive real estate lawyer will simply not do all of this, or even most of it!  I've been asked many times, "Jonathan, how do you juggle all this?!" "Duh, it's my full-time job!"  

  1. 80% of “For Sale by Owner” sellers end up using a Realtor.
It doesn’t take long before lone-sellers realize how time-consuming it is to coordinate showings, put their house on several real estate websites with the proper legal information, use the appropriate contracts and disclosures to protect themselves, interpret any offers they receive, deal with the buyer...or worse, the buyer’s experienced agent! They quickly realize what they thought was easy has turned into a nightmare.
  1. Only the MLS IDX’s to over 5,000 websites online, which is where Zillow, Trulia,, Yahoo! Real Estate,, and the thousands of other most popular real estate websites actually get their listings! Only a licensed realtor can list a home on the official Colorado MLS.
Plus, any home on the MLS automatically goes to over 20,000 Colorado realtors who have buyers. Homes on any other website do not automatically upload on other websites, so most realtors and buyers are unaware of them.
  1. Pricing your home incorrectly can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

    I ran into a seller the other day who told me the price she sold her home on her own. It seemed a bit low, so I looked up the sold comps in her neighborhood. To my disbelief, she sold her home about $50,000 under market value!
The opposite problem is that most sellers who try to sell their homes price them way too high, and end up sitting on the market far longer than homes priced correctly by realtors, only to keep reducing the price, and even accepting a very low offer to just get rid of the headache. Other sellers, as the one above, may price their homes way too low, and have experienced buyers or realtors take advantage of their mistake. The difference between $300,000 and $350,000 is far more than paying commissions.

  1. Lone-buyers are fresh prey for experienced sellers or sellers’ realtors.
Buyers letting the seller’s realtor run the transaction have no one protecting them! The seller’s realtor is only concerned with the seller’s interest, honoring their agency agreement with the seller. They will not negotiate or recommend anything for the buyer (why would they?), including price, inspection items, deadlines, radon and other inspections, or anything else.
When I represent buyers, I protect them from dangers and risks they were not even aware of, including deadlines when their earnest money may be in jeopardy. I will even suggest them to terminate the contract if that is the best course of action for them.
  1. Why deal with stubborn agents or lenders?
As I’ve quickly learned, not every agent or lender is “nice.” Sometimes, in fact, they can be absolutely impolite and unprofessional. This can be an emotionally exhausting stress roller-coaster for buyers and sellers. But they still have to be dealt with. That's where I come in. And sometimes The Denver House Guy really does have to bring the boxing gloves, otherwise they won’t listen. Why waste your precious time & energy getting emotionally riled up dealing with them when that is my job, and it doesn’t ruin my day to do so (most of the time)?  You should be packing your stuff getting ready to move! :)
NOTE: By the way, there IS a difference between real estate agents and REALTORS®. REALTORS® have a whole set of courses, ethical regulations and standards, and national Boards which they are involved that regular real estate agents are not. Jonathan Ghaly is proud to be a REALTOR®.
  1. As my friend said, “Dude, buying a house is way too much work. I never want to do this again. I wish I just hired you.”
That is literally what he said to me, and I don’t blame him. It is a full-time job, and most people don’t really understand all the work that a Realtor has to put into just 1 transaction. 

Don’t learn the hard way! Just hire The Denver House Guy.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

How Much Would a Mortgage Really Cost Me?

Sometimes people hear the word "mortgage" and think of huge numbers, like $2,500/month! But you may be very surprised at what a real mortgage payment would cost you. It may even be cheaper than what you're paying right now for rent!

Yet it is true: some mortgage estimates and calculators can be inaccurate. 

Here is a fabulous and realistic total monthly payment calculator (including taxes and insurance, and mortgage insurance if applicable) you can use to properly assess what your total monthly mortgage will look like.  
FYI: Rates are at about 4.25%-4.5% right now.

Remember, credit also affects the kind of interest rate you can get. If your credit is bad, email me for several ways to improve your credit score!

Click on "Mortgage" on the calculator below and plug in your numbers!

Powered by MLcalc Mortgage Calculator

Metro Denver Sees Big Jump in Homes Listed For Sale

The Denver Post reported that Metro Denver had the biggest percentage increase in new listings of homes for sale of any major metro area last month, according to a report Monday from ZipRealty. 

The Denver area had 10,382 new listings come to market between June 16 and July 15, a 26 percent increase from the number of new listings that hit the market during the same period in 2012.

Buyers, however, appear to be absorbing the new supply, and inventories, while up from the spring, remain tight compared with historical averages. ZipRealty reports 11,357 homes available for sale in metro Denver as of July 15, 15 percent fewer than the 13,395 available on the same day in 2012.
But inventory levels are up sharply from the end of April, when only 6,945 homes were available for sale, according to data from MetroList.

Homes listed for sale are spending a median of eight days on the market in Denver, compared with 17 days a year earlier. That turnover is the shortest of any metro area ZipRealty looked at.
ZipRealty also found that Denver sellers are, on average, getting 100 percent of their listing price when they do sell.

"With more new listings and an increase in inventory, the sharp spike in sales prices will likely start to moderate in coming months," ZipRealty CEO and president Lanny Baker said in a statement.
The median sales price for homes in metro Denver is up about 9 percent year-over-year compared with a 16.8 percent median gain across the 24 metro areas studied, ZipRealty found.

What does this mean for you?
-Buyers: There will be a bit less competition for you, and a bit more to choose from, which is awesome. Prices may begin to steady out. 

-Sellers: Your home might not be sold in 1 week like earlier in 2013. Set more realistic prices and your home will still be sold!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Future Construction contracts soar in the Denver Metro area

Another great sign for Denver Metro housing: contracts for future construction in the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area have soared 47 percent between July 2012 and last month, according to a report released Tuesday by the research and analytics unit of McGraw Hill Construction.
In July 2012, the contracts totaled $264,410,000, and last month, contracts amounted to $389,705,000.
Last month, nonresidential was $116,847,000, a 53 percent increase over July 2012's $76,422,000, and residential was $272,858,000, a 45 percent increase over $187,988,000 for July 2012.
These figures show that builders, developers, and lenders are forecasting major economic growth in the Denver Metro area. As far as the year-to-date on a cumulative basis, residential was up 44 percent, meaning that year-to-date contracts for future construction were up 19 percent from $2,502,141,000 in July 2012 to $2,972,089,000 last month.
The Denver-Aurora metro area includes Adams, Arapahoe, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, Jefferson and Park counties.
Have you considered getting into a new home? 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Top 10 Towns in Colorado to Raise a Family

colorado state

Mike Anderson - Colorado is known for its superb outdoors culture: activities like skiing, hiking, rapids and horseback riding are readily available across the state. These recreational activities make the state particularly family-friendly, as do the area’s quality schools, affordability and economic growth.
The Criteria:
As we studied cities and towns across the Centennial State and identified the best for young families, we asked the following questions:
  1. Does the town have good public schools? Nerd Wallet measured schools’ academic performance with ratings from This non-profit compares a given school’s standardized test scores to the state average to obtain a rating on a 1 to 10 scale (10 representing the highest score). Higher ratings led to a higher overall score.
  2. Can you afford to live there? They looked at both average home values in each town and ongoing monthly home costs, including mortgage payments, real estate taxes, insurance costs, utilities, fuel and other bills. Lower costs led to a higher overall score.
  3. Is the town growing and prospering? They assessed a town’s economy by looking at average household income and income growth over the last decade. Higher income and greater growth led to a higher overall score.
Check out Nerd Wallet's cost of living calculator and mortgage rates calculator for more information.
The Best Places for Young Families
1. Superior
Superior’s most outstanding quality may be its esteemed educational system. Served by the Boulder Valley School District, this town earned a perfect rating from GreatSchools for its two elementary schools, each of which provides an engaging environment for kids to learn and succeed. Superior’s students tend to continue their education at Monarch High School, a consistent winner of the John Irwin School of Excellence Award. Over 95% of studentspursue higher education after graduation as well.
2. Highlands Ranch
Only a 30-minute drive from Denver, this city has everything: inviting neighborhoods, acclaimed schools and plenty of venues for outdoor pastimes. Mountain Vista High is regularly recognized for its excellence, and the students consistently outperform the rest of the state. This past year, for instance, the high school’s average ACT score was three points higher than that of the state. As for entertainment, Highlands Ranch residents have their choice from four recreation centers, two dozen parks and two golf courses.
3. Louisville
According to locals, it is hard not to be happy in Louisville. This down-to-earth town has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state; in 2011, it was two points lower than the state average, at 5.3%. It is also known for its award-winning $9 million public library. When citizens are not enjoying the library’s numerous study rooms, teen areas and a peaceful fireside reading room, you can find them at the Louisville Downtown Street Faire, where games, delicious food and live music bring residents together every weekend during the summer.
4. Erie
The fact that Erie sees 340 days of sunshine every year should be telling enough that this town is a wonderful place to live. Yet in addition to great weather, Erie possesses many other attractive qualities. Located 30 miles from Denver, Erie’s scenic location and brand new educational facilities make it the ideal location for family life. Furthermore, Erie is both an artistically-inclined and environmentally-conscious community: the Arts Coalition of Erieoften hosts visual and performing arts shows while the Erie Community Center conserves with its town-wide interconnecting trail system, a water-saving irrigation system in public parks and a solar-panel installation at its headquarters.
5. Castle Rock
Named for the prominent rock formation that overlooks the town, Castle Rock is cherished for its small-town hospitality. Residents are attracted to the area by its diverse recreational opportunities, panoramic views and the town’s laid-back but lively vibe. Parks comprise 27% of Castle Rock’s total land area, and in summer months, the town organizes weekly family-friendly entertainment events, such as Splash in the Park, outdoor movies and afarmers market. Castle Rock is proud to host both WineFest, a July outdoor event with wine tasting and live jazz music, and the Colorado Artfest, a juried international fine arts show with more than 180 artists, live main-stage entertainment and cultural exhibits.
6. Parker
Parker is the perfect place for the outdoorsy young families. Surrounded by nature, the town has an amazing network of trails for biking, hiking, skating and horseback riding. Additionally, Parker is located near Castlewood Canyon State Park, where hikers can see remnants of an infamous dam that burst in 1933 and sent a 15-foot wave into downtown Denver. There is also the Rueter-Hess Reservoir, which is now open to fishing, hiking and non-motorized boating after an expansion was completed last year.
7. Broomfield
Broomfield is removed from the big city of Denver but offers plenty to do for families of all ages. This small city is home to a quickly growing tech industry; it is located along the technology corridor on U.S. 36 and top employers include Level 3 Communications and Oracle. Broomfield is also home to FlatIron Crossing, a beautifully landscaped shopping district, which features an array of trendy boutiques, department stores, hip restaurants and an AMC Theatre for moviegoers. Residents can attend shows at the recently opened 1STBANK Center, too, which hosts big concerts, circuses and rodeos (just to name a few). There is also a modern recreation center, three golf courses and Broomfield’s many picturesque trails and open spaces.
8. Windsor
The town of Windsor is at the heart of central northern Colorado’s tri-city area, giving residents easy access to fairs and exhibits in Loveland’s art district, Fort Collins’s historic downtown and Greeley’s rodeo grounds and famous jazz festival. The town has plenty of entertainment opportunities of its own, too. Recently, the quiet downtown had been rejuvenated with an upscale restaurant and several modern boutiques. Additionally, the town is home to Windsor Lake, a popular spot for fishing, hiking and, lately, biking, as a scenic 2.25-mile bike trail around the lake was recently completed.
9. Durango
Durango has a plethora of exciting attractions, and one of the most charming is the heritage railway, which takes travelers to Silverton and back on steam-powered trains. The adventurous ride is not only enjoyed by history enthusiasts and tourists, but also by the mountain-biking community, as thousands flock to Durango on Memorial Day to race the steam train. True to the Western culture and traditions of the area, Durango boasts a variety of other outdoor attractions, including a mountain resort for skiers and natural hot springs. For the local foodie, Durango is a hotspot, too, boasting more restaurants per capita than San Francisco.
10. Littleton
A suburb of Denver, Littleton has mastered the craft of converting old to new. Littleton’s downtown is lined with turn-of-the-century buildings that house a mix of hip restaurants and bars, quaint antique shops and art galleries. The town offers a historical museum where residents can learn about the town’s agricultural roots and cherish the hands-on experience of life in a different era. Its exhibits and living-history farm make for a fun family outing as kids will surely enjoy picnicking by the nearby Ketring Lake and playing with the museum’s farm animals.
RankCityNearest big cityGreatSchools ratingMedian home valueMonthly owner costsMedian household incomeGrowth,’99-’11Overall score for young families
1SuperiorBoulder, Denver10$395,000$2,202$100,19422.1%62.5
2Highlands RanchDenver9$334,100$2,142$106,49522.7%59.7
3LouisvilleBoulder, Denver9$365,700$1,943$83,68219.6%57.8
4ErieBoulder, Denver8$333,100$2,147$103,69834.5%57.1
5Castle RockDenver8$278,000$2,067$85,00932.5%56.6
7BroomfieldBoulder, Denver8$270,500$1,851$76,53119.8%54.7
8WindsorFort Collins, Denver7$264,200$1,927$78,01341.9%54.2


The overall score for each city was derived from the following measures:
  1. GreatSchools city rating. GreatSchools city ratings are calculated by averaging the weighted overall rating for each school in the city (weighted by the number of students enrolled at the school)
  2. Median home value from the U.S. Census (2011 ACS, data set DP04, half-weighted)
  3. Monthly homeowner costs from the U.S. Census (2011 ACS, data set DP04, half-weighted)
  4. Median household income from the U.S. Census (2011 ACS, data set DP03, half-weighted)
  5. Income change between 1999 and 2011 from the U.S. Census (data sets P053 and DP03, half-weighted)
57 Colorado cities and towns designated as places by the U.S. Census were included in this analysis. Only places with a population greater than 10,000 were considered.