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Denver by the Data, Vol. 4: Housing & Real Estate

This is the fourth installment of Denver by the Data, a quasi-monthly, data-driven belly flop into different topics of various to the city. The topic of the month: housing and real estate.
Total property parcels in Denver: about 175,000

Total housing units (2010): 285,797, with 45.7 percent in multi-unit structures

Denver added a net 19,731 new dwelling units from 2011 to 2014.

Home ownership rate (2009-2013): 50.1 percent

Median value in city (2009-2013): $249,100

June 2015 median home value in city: $306,100, up 14.8 percent over 2014

2015 median home value in Denver metro area: $288,400, up nearly 20 percent in two years

Historical median values (Denver metro)
1975 $35,921 ($124,277 in 2015 dollars)
1985 $95,447 ($180,923 in 2015 dollars)
1995 $150,736 ($217,126 in 2015 dollars)
2005 $247,100 ($291,762 in 2015 dollars)
Data from the U.S. Census, Zillow, Denver Real Estate Watch, HSH.com and HSBC Global Research


According to Apartment List, median rents in Denver in April 2015 were $1,030 for a one-bedroom apartment or $1,400 for two bedrooms. The national averages were $950 and $1,000 respectively. Denver was up 6.2 percent in a year, seventh in the U.S. (Aurora was first at 10.8 percent.) Renters can take some solace from the fact that Denver is a third the price of San Francisco and less than half the price of New York.

Metro area rents were up 13 percent year over year as of April 2015, according to the Apartment Association of Metro Denver. The average rent for a one-bedroom in Denver was $988 in 2013 -- and about $600 in 1995 (or $865 in 2015 dollars).


Office: Newmark Grubb Knight Frank reported that Class A rates in the Central Business District have gone up 21.6 percent to $34.67 a square foot in Q1 2015, an all-time high. There is more than 92 million square feet of office space in the metro area in all.

Industrial: Cushman & Wakefield reported Denver-area industrial jumped 10.6 percent in a year to $7.33 per square foot/year as of Q1 2015. The entire market has more than 238 million square feet of industrial space.

Retail: Metro-area vacancy dropped to 5.9 percent as of Q3 2014, according to Colliers International.

New construction

A total of 230,082 building permits were issued in Denver from 2011 to 2014, and builders spent an estimated $8.41 billion on construction materials and labor costs in the city during that same period. The city processed 32 percent more building permits in 2014 than it did in 2011.

Total building permits issued in Denver
2005 60,568
2006 52,965
2007 53,274
2008 45,999
2009 41,474
2010 49,664
2011 51,549
2012 55,463
2013 55,252
2014 67,818
Private investment in Blueprint Denver's "Areas of Change" vs. "Areas of Stability" in 2013 and 2014

Areas of Change represent just 18 percent of the land area of the city, much of it in RiNo, Montbello, Overland and downtown.

2014 Investment per acre (commercial and residential permit valuation)
In Area of Change (AOC) = $56,413
In Area of Stability (AOS) = $10,878
Ratio 5.2 to 1

2013 Investment per acre (Commercial and Residential permit valuation)
In AOC = $68,158
In AOS = $10,429
Ratio 6.5 to 1


Rezonings are rare. Of Denver's 175,000 property parcels, just 34 of them were rezoned in 2014. There have been less than 400 rezonings since 2005.

Historic districts

There are 6,600 buildings in Denver's 51 historic districts. In addition, Denver has 331 historic landmarks.

Data courtesy Denver Community Planning and Development Department

Read more articles by Eric Peterson.

Eric is a Denver-based tech writer and guidebook wiz. Contact him here.
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