Most Expensive Places To Live In Colorado For 2020


We used science and data to determine which cities in Colorado that will put a big dent in your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the most expensive places to live in Colorado.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and Colorado does this very well. Families love the Centennial State's beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state -- and that's how we're going to help you.

These are the places in Colorado that cost a pretty penny -- the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in Colorado for 2020.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Colorado? That would be Boulder.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 76 places in Colorado with more than 5,000 people.

What's the most expensive place to live in Colorado? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Boulder is the most expensive place to live in Colorado.

So hopefully Craig (the cheapest place to live in Colorado) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about Colorado and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Colorado For 2020

Boulder, CO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 107,360
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 9.8x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.1x (6th most expensive)
More on Boulder: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Boulder is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Boulder County, and the 11th most populous municipality in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 5,430 feet above sea level. The city is 25 miles northwest of Denver.

The median income in Boulder comes in at $66,117 and the median home value is $645,600 for 2020.

Vail, CO

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 5,469
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 10.2x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.9x (13th most expensive)
More on Vail: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Town of Vail is a Home Rule Municipality in Eagle County, Colorado, United States. The population of the town was 5,305 in 2010. The town was established and built as the base village to Vail Ski Resort, with which it was originally conceived. Vail Ski Resort's first season was in December 1962; it is the largest ski mountain in Colorado.

The median income in Vail comes in at $75,703 and the median home value is $775,100 for 2020.

Edgewater, CO

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 5,334
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.6x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 43.9x (5th most expensive)
More on Edgewater: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The City of Edgewater is a Home Rule Municipality located in Jefferson County, Colorado, United States. Edgewater is located immediately west of Denver, in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population is 5,170. Edgewater is surrounded by Denver to the east, Lakewood to the south and west, and Wheat Ridge to the north.

The median income in Edgewater comes in at $49,665 and the median home value is $378,500 for 2020.

Golden, CO

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 20,798
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.3x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 51.2x (19th most expensive)
More on Golden: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Golden is the Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat of Jefferson County, Colorado, United States. Golden lies along Clear Creek at the base of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Founded during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush on 16 June 1859, the mining camp was originally named Golden City in honor of Thomas L. Golden. Golden City served as the capital of the provisional Territory of Jefferson from 1860 to 1861, and capital of the official Territory of Colorado from 1862 to 1867. In 1867, the territorial capital was moved about 12 miles east to Denver City. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the city population was 18,867 in 2010.

The median income in Golden comes in at $66,344 and the median home value is $485,800 for 2020.

Carbondale, CO

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 6,712
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.0x (14th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 48.7x (11th most expensive)
More on Carbondale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Town of Carbondale is a Home Rule Municipality in Garfield County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 6427 at the 2010 United States Census. The town is located in the Roaring Fork Valley, downstream from Aspen and upstream from the mouth of the Roaring Fork River at Glenwood Springs. The town proper sits on the south bank of the river, at the confluence of the Crystal River. Carbondale's horizon is dominated by the 12,953ft tall Mount Sopris several miles to the south of town.

The median income in Carbondale comes in at $78,438 and the median home value is $468,900 for 2020.

Durango, CO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 18,321
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.0x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 51.1x (17th most expensive)
More on Durango: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The City of Durango is the county seat and the most populous municipality of La Plata County, Colorado, United States. It is home to Fort Lewis College. The United States Census Bureau reported a population of 16,887 in the 2010 census.

The median income in Durango comes in at $63,167 and the median home value is $442,900 for 2020.

Aspen, CO

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 7,234
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 8.8x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.6x (38th most expensive)
More on Aspen: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Aspen is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Pitkin County, Colorado, United States. Its population was 6,658 at the 2010 United States Census. Aspen is in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains' Sawatch Range and Elk Mountains, along the Roaring Fork River at an elevation just below 8,000 feet above sea level on the Western Slope, 11 miles west of the Continental Divide.

The median income in Aspen comes in at $72,973 and the median home value is $641,600 for 2020.

Steamboat Springs, CO

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 12,777
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.7x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.0x (32nd most expensive)
More on Steamboat Springs: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The City of Steamboat Springs, often shortened to just Steamboat, is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Routt County, Colorado, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 12,088.

The median income in Steamboat Springs comes in at $71,476 and the median home value is $551,000 for 2020.

Fort Collins, CO

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 162,511
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.4x (18th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 48.6x (10th most expensive)
More on Fort Collins: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fort Collins is the Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Larimer County, Colorado, United States. Situated on the Cache La Poudre River along the Colorado Front Range, Fort Collins is located 65 miles north of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. With a 2016 estimated population of 161,000, it is the fourth most populous city in Colorado after Denver, Colorado Springs, and Aurora. Fort Collins is a midsize college city, home to Colorado State University.

The median income in Fort Collins comes in at $62,132 and the median home value is $338,100 for 2020.

Glenwood Springs, CO

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 9,894
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.9x (15th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 51.5x (21st most expensive)
More on Glenwood Springs: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The City of Glenwood Springs is the Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Garfield County, Colorado, United States. Glenwood Springs is located at the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and the Colorado River, threading together the Roaring Fork Valley and a series of smaller towns up and down the Colorado River. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 9,614.

The median income in Glenwood Springs comes in at $63,248 and the median home value is $370,600 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Centennial State For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Colorado
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Colorado to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 76 places in Colorado that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in Colorado according to the data is Boulder. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Colorado For 2020

Well there you have it, the places in Colorado that have the highest cost of living, with Boulder ranking as the most expensive city in the Centennial State.

Here's a look at the most affordable cities in Colorado according to the data:

  1. Craig
  2. Fort Morgan
  3. Fort Lupton

For more Colorado reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Colorado

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Boulder 4.0 107,360 9.8x 45.1x
2 Vail 5.67 5,469 10.2x 49.9x
3 Edgewater 11.33 5,334 7.6x 43.9x
4 Golden 13.0 20,798 7.3x 51.2x
5 Carbondale 13.0 6,712 6.0x 48.7x
6 Durango 13.67 18,321 7.0x 51.1x
7 Aspen 15.33 7,234 8.8x 54.6x
8 Steamboat Springs 15.33 12,777 7.7x 54.0x
9 Fort Collins 20.33 162,511 5.4x 48.6x
10 Glenwood Springs 20.67 9,894 5.9x 51.5x
11 Estes Park 21.67 6,297 7.5x 54.5x
12 Avon 22.33 6,529 7.3x 59.2x
13 Denver 22.33 693,417 5.6x 52.4x
14 Gypsum 23.67 7,079 4.3x 47.5x
15 Wheat Ridge 24.33 31,323 6.1x 53.6x
16 Lakewood 25.33 153,522 5.2x 51.3x
17 Englewood 26.33 33,820 5.3x 51.0x
18 Glendale 28.0 5,170 4.6x 42.3x
19 Greenwood Village 28.33 15,677 7.0x 74.7x
20 Louisville 29.0 20,705 5.5x 65.1x
21 Cherry Hills Village 30.33 6,600 6.4x 114.5x
22 Lafayette 30.67 28,002 4.9x 58.4x
23 Lone Tree 31.0 14,209 5.3x 70.7x
24 Littleton 32.67 47,035 5.2x 60.7x
25 Broomfield 32.67 66,120 4.3x 56.6x
26 Sheridan 34.0 6,056 4.3x 37.5x
27 Longmont 35.0 93,244 4.7x 56.7x
28 Aurora 35.33 363,550 4.1x 50.4x
29 Loveland 35.33 75,395 4.5x 53.9x
30 Salida 36.0 5,642 6.6x 63.1x
31 Westminster 36.67 112,747 4.2x 54.0x
32 Superior 38.67 13,014 4.2x 69.1x
33 Arvada 38.67 117,251 4.4x 62.8x
34 Manitou Springs 39.67 5,280 5.3x 71.4x
35 Woodland Park 40.33 7,421 4.5x 62.3x
36 Fruita 41.33 13,145 3.9x 50.1x
37 Grand Junction 41.33 61,479 4.5x 54.7x
38 Montrose 41.33 19,096 4.2x 52.1x
39 Gunnison 41.33 6,322 4.4x 53.8x
40 Centennial 42.0 109,505 3.8x 63.1x
41 John 42.0 14,278 3.4x 52.6x
42 Northglenn 42.33 38,918 3.7x 51.5x
43 Lochbuie 42.33 6,036 3.4x 47.7x
44 Berthoud 42.67 6,518 4.2x 57.3x
45 Eagle 43.33 6,816 4.1x 84.0x
46 Alamosa 43.67 9,780 4.6x 54.5x
47 Thornton 43.67 134,588 3.8x 54.5x
48 Delta 44.0 8,768 3.9x 51.1x
49 Commerce City 44.33 54,795 4.0x 56.8x
50 Castle Pines 44.67 10,573 3.8x 97.0x
51 Erie 45.0 22,965 3.6x 66.3x
52 Fountain 45.67 29,339 3.3x 48.2x
53 Cortez 45.67 8,637 4.2x 54.3x
54 Colorado Springs 46.67 457,502 4.1x 57.2x
55 Castle Rock 47.0 59,680 3.7x 71.7x
56 Windsor 48.67 25,232 3.9x 78.5x
57 Brighton 49.33 39,054 3.9x 59.8x
58 Parker 50.0 52,563 3.5x 74.0x
59 Greeley 50.33 103,773 4.0x 57.9x
60 Pueblo 50.33 109,985 3.4x 49.3x
61 Monument 50.67 7,065 3.4x 64.8x
62 La Junta 52.0 6,914 3.0x 43.7x
63 Evans 52.33 20,393 3.4x 53.0x
64 Federal Heights 52.33 12,645 1.4x 35.9x
65 Wellington 53.33 8,571 3.2x 55.6x
66 Frederick 54.67 12,138 3.3x 64.6x
67 Trinidad 55.67 8,043 3.4x 54.4x
68 Firestone 56.0 13,109 3.4x 68.7x
69 Milliken 58.33 6,773 3.2x 58.8x
70 Rifle 59.0 9,600 3.6x 66.9x
71 Lamar 60.33 7,606 2.3x 53.3x
72 Brush 63.0 5,386 3.4x 61.9x
73 Sterling 63.67 13,775 3.2x 55.6x
74 Fort Lupton 67.33 8,022 3.3x 72.0x
75 Fort Morgan 67.67 11,309 3.2x 63.7x
76 Craig 68.0 8,888 3.2x 66.0x

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.